iPad Momentum Falls Flat as Tablet Market Experiences First Year-Over-Year Decline

iPad sales slowed in the fourth quarter as the worldwide tablet market experienced its first year-over-year decline since being established in 2010, according to the latest numbers from market research firm IDC. Apple shipped 21.4 million iPads for 28.1% market share in the fourth quarter to maintain a comfortable lead over Samsung, which shipped 11 million tablets for 14.5% market share during the three-month period ending December.

Tablets Q4 2014 IDC
The worldwide tablet market continues to be mainly a two-horse race between Apple and Samsung, with smaller competitors such as Lenovo, Asus and Amazon shipping just 3.7 million, 3 million and 1.7 million tablets respectively during the fourth quarter. IDC says that, despite a year-over-year decline, worldwide tablet shipments increased 4.4% to total 229.6 million units in 2014.

"The tablet market is still very top heavy in the sense that it relies mostly on Apple and Samsung to carry the market forward each year," said Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. "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. 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."

Tablets IDC Q4 2014Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri cautioned investors during last week's earnings call that iPad sales are unlikely to see a dramatic year-over-year improvement in the near future. Nevertheless, Apple is optimistic about pushing the iPad further into the enterprise through its IBM deal announced last July and is also seeing first-time buyer rates for the iPad as high as 70% in emerging markets such as China.

Tag: IDC

Top Rated Comments

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74 months ago
Zero software innovation in YEARS, decline in sales

Who woulda thunk
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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74 months ago
Well duh, it's because the iPhones are about as big as the tablets now.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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74 months ago
Tablets never made sense to me.

Laptop - full blown OS, does everything, fits in a bag
Phone - cut-down OS but fits in your pocket, makes phone calls.

And then there's tablets. Cut down OS but doesn't fit in your pocket, needs to go in your bag, can't make phone calls. They're just a gimmick.

And the Apple Watch will be the next one.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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74 months ago
Makes sense. People really don't need to upgrade their tablets yearly.

My iPad 3 is still going strong. It's a little sluggish, but I use it mostly for educational purposes for my toddler. It's also used for watching movies.

You also need to factor in that with larger iPhones, the need for a tablet lessens for most people.

Also for the love of God, can we please get split screen multitasking?

I use my MacBook air because I can watch a movie on it with Twitter or email open. It's annoying to have to switch between apps.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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74 months ago
Tablets are the perfect device for many different things--much better than a phone or laptop in many cases. However, the things they are good at do not require a yearly hardware upgrade, or even a bi-yearly upgrade.

I've never heard an iPad owner say they don't like the device or don't use it. What I HAVE heard a lot of is, "It still works just fine for everything I do. Why would I buy a new one?"
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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74 months ago
I guess the market is reaching saturation, and because there hasn't been that much innovation, people have no need to update their tablets that often. In my opinion Apple has been quite lazy with iPad in recent years, there's much unused potential in it.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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