Apple's Lead in Tablet Market Share Shrinks as Consumer Satisfaction Slips Slightly

Apple continues to rank among the world's top tablet manufacturers both in customer satisfaction and shipments, according to reports released today by J.D Power and IDC, although the company is showing some signs of weakness as lower-cost competitors gain momentum and consumers look for more innovation in Apple's tablet lineup. Apple fell slightly behind Amazon in J.D. Power's semiannual customer satisfaction survey, while the company's lead in worldwide tablet shipping volume continues to shrink.

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Worldwide tablet shipments in 3Q14 in millions of units (Source: IDC)

According to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, Apple remains the global tablet market leader, despite a 12.8 percent decline in quarterly shipments year-over-year. Apple shipped 12.3 million units in Q3 2014, edging out both Samsung, which shipped 9.9 million units, and coming in well ahead of Asus, which climbed to the number three spot with 3.5 million units shipped.

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Apple's iPad shipments (red) and share of worldwide tablet shipments (blue) for 2Q11–3Q14 (Source: IDC)

Apple's market share is projected to increase in Q4 2014 due to the introduction of the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, but the jump will likely be tempered as more consumers hold onto their existing tablets for a longer period. IDC also predicts iPad shipments will continue to be eclipsed by the popularity of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

"Although the low-cost vendors are moving a lot of volume, the top vendors, like Apple, continue to rake in the dollars," said Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. "A sub-$100 tablet simply isn't sustainable—Apple knows this—and it's likely the reason they aren't concerned with market share erosion."

While Apple remains first in market share, the company lost its number one spot in the latest J.D. Power tablet satisfaction study. Apple scored 824, taking the number two slot behind Amazon and its inexpensive line of Fire tablets. Samsung took the third slot, trailing the two market leaders with a score of 821. J.D. Power measures satisfaction on a 1,000-point scale using five criteria which include performance, ease of operation, feature set, styling/design and cost.

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J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Tablet Satisfaction Study—Volume 2

Apple had reclaimed the top spot in J.D. Power's survey earlier this year after losing it to Samsung in the late 2013 rankings.

Apple now is offering its most expansive phone and tablet lineup to date, selling both older iPhone and iPad models, along with the new 4.7-inch iPhone 6, the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, the Touch ID-enabled iPad mini 3 and the slimmer and faster iPad Air 2. Apple's ecosystem will expand again with the early 2015 debut of the Apple Watch, the company's first entry into the exploding wearables market.

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Top Rated Comments

d4rkc4sm Avatar
126 months ago
Ios 7/8 sucks is why
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SirLance99 Avatar
126 months ago
I have a feeling that many cheaper tablets are bought and played with for the first few days (perhaps a couple of weeks) and then end up going untouched for large chunks of time.

Yeah, because this is the same thing that's been happening quarter after quarter. People just keep buying cheap tablets and not using them. They must have so much disposable money to keep doing that.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dannyyankou Avatar
126 months ago
They need to Snow Leopard iOS
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dannyyankou Avatar
126 months ago
It is not surprising when many customers found their iPhone 6+ were as bent as Tim Cook.
This story is about iPads, and I find your attempt of humor in light of recent news to be rather pathetic.

I wish we still had the down vote button.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mr.bee Avatar
126 months ago
people are fed up with using their ipad as an expensive toilet read? :)

for me, two reasons:

ios 8 is not professional enough

ipad mini got beaten by the lame stick
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
3N16MA Avatar
126 months ago
I have a feeling that many cheaper tablets are bought and played with for the first few days (perhaps a couple of weeks) and then end up going untouched for large chunks of time.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)