Report: Tablet Sales Fall for Second Straight Quarter

Global tablet shipments have declined for the second straight quarter, according to a new report from International Data Corp. (IDC).  The 5.9 percent drop in the first quarter of 2015, as compared to the same period last year, followed a 3.2 percent year over year drop in the final quarter of 2014 that was the segments first contraction ever.

"The market slowdown that we witnessed last quarter is continuing to impact the tablet segment, but we see some growth areas that are starting to materialize," said Jean Philippe Bouchard, research director for tablets, in a prepared statement. "Cellular-enabled tablets are outgrowing the rest of the market, providing an additional revenue stream for OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and mobile operators. In addition to driving higher usage than Wi-Fi-only tablets, cellular-enabled tablets also help position the segment as true mobile solutions rather than stay-at-home devices."

Apple maintains its leadership position with a 26.8 percent market share and 12.6 percent shipments for the quarter. That's down from 16.4 million shipments year over year and represents a negative growth rate of nearly 23 percent. It's also the fifth consecutive quarter the company has seen a decline in tablet sales.

"iPads continue to suffer from the success of the new iPhone and to a lesser extent of the Mac product line," according to a news release. "IDC expects Apple to record negative growth until the iPad portfolio is significantly refreshed, either with the expected increase in screen sizes or by introducing a dedicated version of iOS for its tablet lineup."

Samsung also maintained it's place, second, despite fewer shipments and shrinking market share. The company sold 9 million units for the quarter, down 1.8 million from 2014's first quarter, and saw its share of the market fall slightly from 21.6 percent to 19.1.

"The market shift to connected tablets will likely benefit the Korean vendor as they can and should leverage their mobile expertise and carrier relationships," according to information released by IDC.

Lenovo was the only top-three tablet vendor to see positive growth year over year, moving approximately half a million more units in the quarter as compared to the same period last year, for a total of 2.5 million. On the strength of that 23 percent growth, the company's market share improved from 4.1 to 5.3 percent. A variety of low-cost offerings and a brand that performs well in PC and smartphone markets has helped the company grow in the tablet market, according to IDC.

Asus saw a year over year decline of 30.6 percent as unit sales fell from 2.6 million to 1.8 million. The company's market share also fell 1.4 percentage points to land at 3.8 percent for the most recent quarter, good enough for fourth place.

LG sits in fifth place with a 3.1 percent market share. That's up from just .2 percent in the first quarter of last year, reflecting a year over year increase from only about 100,000 shipments to 1.4 million.

"It wasn't too long ago that LG Electronics exited the tablet market due to the poor performance of its original Optimus Pad," according to an IDC news release. "However, since returning to the tablet business in late 2013, LG has been able to leverage its relationship with local telcos, garnering an impressive 10 percent growth over the fourth quarter in a market that declined -38 percent quarter over quarter and capturing a spot in the worldwide top 5."

"Although the tablet market is in decline, 2-in-1's are certainly a bright spot," said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, in a prepared statement. "While 2-in-1, or detachables, still account for a small portion of the overall market, growth in this space has been stunning as vendors like Asus, Acer and E-Fun have been able to offer products at a fantastic value; and vendors like Microsoft have been able to drive growth at the high end with devices like the Surface Pro 3."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].