Tablet shipments continue to decline, but there are bright spots

Global tablet shipments are continuing to decline for the second consecutive quarter although some form factors are showing continued strength, according to new research from IDC Corp.

According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, worldwide tablet shipments for the first quarter of 2015 was 47.1 million shipments, a 5.9 per cent decline over the same quarter one year ago. IDC does however highlights some areas of strength within the tablet space.

“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 with IDC, in a statement. “Cellular-enabled tablets are outgrowing the rest of the market, providing an additional revenue stream for OEMs 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.”

When the numbers are broken down by vendor, Apple remained on top despite five straight quarters of negative shipment growth. Apple shipped 12.6 million units in Q1 which was good for 26.8 per cent of the market, which is still 22.9 per cent lower than its share in Q1 of 2014. IDC says strength in their recently refreshed iPhone and Mac lines has hurt Apple’s tablet sales, which likely won’t rebound until Apple refreshes its iPad lineup as well.


In second spot was Samsung with nine million shipments and 19.1 per cent of the market in Q1. It also saw its year over year shipments decline by 16.5 per cent, although IDC expects them to benefit from the market shift to connected tablets due to their carrier connections.

Lenovo, Asus and LG Electronics round out the top five.

“Although the tablet market is in decline, 2-in-1’s are certainly a bright spot,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, in a 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.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras is a technology journalist with IT World Canada and a member of the IT Business team. He began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada and the channel for Computer Dealer News. His writing has also appeared in the Vancouver Sun & the Ottawa Citizen.

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