Phablets holding back tablet sales

Tablet sales have started to slide – and one analyst pins part of the blame on larger smartphones, or so-called phablets.

Phablets holding back tablet sales

Worldwide tablet sales have fallen by over 35% in the last quarter and shown weak growth compared to 2013, according to IDC’s latest report. Shipments stood at 50.4 million units in the first quarter of 2014.

This could indicate an “even more challenging year ahead for the category”, the analyst firm claimed.

“The rise of large-screen phones and consumers who are holding on to their existing tablets for ever longer periods of time were both contributing factors to a weaker-than-anticipated quarter,” said Tom Mainelli, IDC’s program vice president of Devices and Displays.

“In addition, commercial growth has not been robust enough to offset the slowing of consumer shipments,” he said.

Competitive market

While Apple still tops the list of manufacturers by market share, Samsung is quickly catching up.

Sales of iPads declined by 16.1% year-on-year with market share decreasing from 40.2% in the first quarter of 2013 to 32.5% in the most recent quarter.

Sales of tablets from its main rival, Samsung, on the other hand, grew by 32%, with its market share rising from 17.5% to 22.3%.

Apple’s first quarter shipment total of 16.4 million was only 5.2 million more than Samsung, whereas in Q1 2013 Apple’s unit shipments were double its rival’s.

The most impressive year-on-year growth, however, came from Lenovo, with its unit sales climbing by 224.3%, from 600,000 in the first quarter of 2013 to 2.1 million in 2014.

Jitesh Ubrani, research analyst with IDC, said Android continues to dominate the market with approximately two-thirds market share.

He added that the Windows device market share “remains small” but added that it continues “to gain traction thanks to sleeper hits like the Asus T100, whose low cost and 2-in-1 form factor appeal to those looking for something that’s ‘good enough’.”

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