Tablet shipment growth shows signs of slowing as Apple and Amazon lose market share

As you would expect, tablets proved to be a popular purchase over the holiday period, with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker reporting a solid rise in global shipments.

According to preliminary data, worldwide tablet shipments grew to 76.9 million units in the fourth calendar quarter of 2013 (4Q13), delivering a 62.4 percent increase over the previous quarter and 28.2 percent growth over the same period a year ago. For the full calendar year, worldwide tablet shipments totaled 217.1 million units, which is up from 144.2 million units shipped in 2012. But despite that good news, things don’t look quite so rosy for the future.

IDC points out that growth rates are down significantly compared to the year-over-year rates of the same quarter one year ago (87.1 percent), which suggests a slowing of the overall market.

"It's becoming increasingly clear that markets such as the US are reaching high levels of consumer saturation and while emerging markets continue to show strong growth this has not been enough to sustain the dramatic worldwide growth rates of years past," says Tom Mainelli, research director, Tablets, at IDC. "We expect commercial purchases of tablets to continue to accelerate in mature markets, but softness in the consumer segment -- brought about by high penetration rates and increased competition for the consumer dollar -- point to a more challenging environment for tablets in 2014 and beyond".

Apple's iPad led the worldwide market, with 26 million units shipped during the quarter, up from 14.1 million in the previous quarter and 22.9 million in 4Q12. Despite that impressive quarter growth -- Apple's most successful on record -- the year-over-year increase of 13.5 percent was, IDC notes, "well below the industry average".

Samsung kept the second-place spot, taking an 18.8 percent share worldwide, up from a 13 percent share a year ago. Rounding out the top five were Amazon (7.6 percent), ASUS (5.1 percent), and Lenovo (4.4 percent).

Top Five Tablet Vendors, Shipments, and Market Share, Fourth Quarter 2013 (Shipments in millions)

Vendor

4Q13 Unit Shipments

4Q13 Market Share

4Q12 Unit Shipments

4Q12 Market Share

Year-over-Year Growth

Apple

26.0

33.8%

22.9

38.2%

13.5%

Samsung

14.5

18.8%

7.8

13.0%

85.9%

Amazon.com Inc.

5.8

7.6%

5.9

9.9%

-1.7%

Asus

3.9

5.1%

3.1

5.1%

25.8%

Lenovo

3.4

4.4%

0.8

1.3%

325.0%

Others

23.3

30.3%

19.5

32.5%

19.5%

Total

76.9

100.0%

60

100.0%

28.2%

Source: IDC Worldwide Tablet Tracker, January 29, 2014.

Table Note: Year-over-year growth calculations are based on preliminary shipment data and may vary from estimates based on rounded figures above.

"Lenovo’s access to the Chinese whitebox manufacturing infrastructure has helped it drive more low-priced tablet products into the market, growing its share from just 1.3 percent in the same quarter last year," says Jitesh Ubrani, research analyst, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. "The company's strength in emerging markets, and its increased market share in adjoining markets such as PCs and smartphones, makes it well positioned to see additional tablet gains in 2014".

Photo Credit: Julien Tromeur/Shutterstock

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