Worldwide tablet shipments have fallen Y/Y for the first since Apple's iPad launched in 2010, according to new research by Tablet Quarterly.
Shipments dropped from 59m units in the first quarter of 2013 to 56.3m units in the first quarter of 2014. The first quarter usually tends to have the weakest shipment volumes of the year as the market comes down following the holiday purchasing period in the fourth quarter, although tablets have always represented a break in this trend with a growth in shipments. This is not the case currently.
This fall in shipments contributed to a 5.2% Y/Y drop in shipments for the overall mobile PC market. The research found that a slowdown in tablet adoption threatens the overall mobile PC market as tablet shipments have been the engine of growth for the area.
This year, many major brands shipped fewer tablets in Q1 than in the past, including Google and Amazon. Apple reported 16.3m sales of iPads during the first three months of 2014, compared to 19.4m a year ago. Samsung, however, has experienced a slight increase of 2% Y/Y. Lenovo seen spectacular growth in tablet sales, increasing shipments to 1432.9% to 2.5m in the first quarter od 2014.
The research also found that while seasonal weakness and product transitions played a role in the lack of shipment growth, the category is facing serious challenges from the emergence of large screen smartphones.
'Replacing tablet PCs with large size smartphones is expected to be a theme in the coming years, expanding on a trend that has mainly been limited to China. As the emergence of large size smartphones becomes a bigger influence in the U.S., shipments of small size tablet PCs are expected to decline,' the report said.
|Worldwide Q1’14 Preliminary Tablet PC Shipment Results (000s) by Brand
Source: NPD DisplaySearch Tablet Quarterly