With phablets getting bigger by the day, the line separating them from tablets is increasingly blurring. As a result, global tablet shipments declined for the first time ever in the last quarter of 2014. As per International Data Corporation (IDC), a total of 76.1 million tablets and hybrid laptops were shipped in Q4, which is a 3.2 percent decline compared to the 78.6 million units shipped a year before. Also Read - Flipkart Mobiles Bonanza sale top deals: iPhone SE, Poco X3 Pro and more on discount
While tablets have seen a dip in demand in the past few quarters, this is the first time since the iPad launched in 2010 that the shipments have actually declined. Nearly all tablet vendors saw a decline in shipments as well as their market share. Apple continues to rule the market having shipped 21.4 million units. But this is a 17.8 percent drop when compared to a year earlier when it had shipped 26 million units. Its market share too dropped from 33.1 percent to 28.1 percent. Also Read - Samsung Galaxy M32 brings 90hz display, 6000mAh battery under Rs 15,000 in India
Other vendors like Samsung too suffered the same fate. Its shipments fell 18.4 percent from 13.5 million to 11 million. Its market share too fell from 17.2 percent to 14.5 percent. Amazon however suffered the worst of the decline, with shipments falling nearly 70 percent from 5.8 million shipped units to 1.7 million. Also Read - Beware! This new iOS bug breaks WiFi on iPhones: Here's a quick fix for it
The only company in the top-five which had something to cheer about was Lenovo. Its shipments grew 9.1 percent from 3.4 million to 3.7 million. Its market share too grew from 4.3 percent to 4.8 percent.
As mentioned above, the growing popularity of phablets is one of the biggest reasons behind the recent decline in the demand for tablets. Apple’s new large-screened iPhones are a prime example. Since launching the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus last year, the company has broken all its previous records, and in the last quarter alone it sold 74.5 million iPhones.
“Although Apple expanded its iPad lineup by keeping around older models and offering a lower entry price point of $249, it still wasn’t enough to spur iPad sales given the excitement around the launch of the new iPhones,” IDC analyst Jitesh Ubrani said. “Meanwhile, Samsung’s struggles continued as low-cost vendors are quickly proving that mid- to high-priced Android tablets simply aren’t cut out for today’s tablet market.”
Last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook too acknowledged the decline in the demand for iPads, but described it as a “speed bump.”
“I take a step back on iPad. I know that there’s a lot of negative commentary in the market on iPad, but I have a sort of different perspective on it,” Cook said. “To me, I view it as a speed bump, not a huge issue.”
While the Q4 shipments paint a bleak picture for tablets, the overall picture is not as bad. In fact, in the past year, nearly 230 million tablets were shipped worldwide, which is a 4.4 percent increase year-on-year.