It seems the tablet bubble is finally starting to burst.
Two years ago the tablet market was booming (although there were fears it could burn itself out). Sales have since dipped over the past year or so, with laptops making a bit of a resurgence, but the latest figures from IDC prove the decline is continuing.
In Q1 2015, worldwide tablet shipments recorded a year-on-year decline for the second consecutive quarter. Overall shipments for tablets and 2-in-1 devices fell to 47.1 million, a 5.9 per cent decline from the same quarter a year ago, according to preliminary data from IDC.
The market tracker believes tablet OEMs should continue to focus on potential growth areas like cellular-enabled tablets and 2-in-1 devices. The commercial segment remains an area to watch for both tablets and 2-in-1's. However, as of now, commercial uptake has been relatively slow as IT buyers continue to evaluate their mobile strategies.
"The market slowdown that we witnessed last quarter is continuing to impact the tablet segment, but we see some growth areas that are starting to materialize," said Jean Philippe Bouchard, Research Director for Tablets at IDC.
"Cellular-enabled tablets are outgrowing the rest of the market, providing an additional revenue stream for OEMs and mobile operators. In addition to driving higher usage than Wi-Fi-only tablets, cellular-enabled tablets also help position the segment as true mobile solutions rather than stay-at-home devices."
Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst at IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, added: "Although the tablet market is in decline, 2-in-1's are certainly a bright spot.
"While 2-in-1, or detachables, still account for a small portion of the overall market, growth in this space has been stunning as vendors like Asus, Acer, and E-FUN have been able to offer products at a fantastic value; and vendors like Microsoft have been able to drive growth at the high end with devices like the Surface Pro 3."
Apple still leads the overall market despite five consecutive quarters of negative annual shipment growth. Apple shipped 12.6 million iPads in the first quarter, capturing 26.8 per cent of the market in volume and declining 22.9 per cent when compared to Q1 2014. Samsung maintained its second place in the market (with a 19.1 per cent share of the market), despite a 16.5 per cent decline in shipments compared to the same period last year.
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