Worldwide tablet shipments have declined 12 percent year-over-year in Q4 2014, due to the increasing demand of phablets. This is the first ever decline in the tablet market after several quarters of slowing demand, according to research firm Canalys.
Canalys says that tablet shipments declined to 67 million units in Q4 2014. Apple's year-on-year tablet shipments fell for the fourth quarter in a row after the temporary boost it received in Q4 2013 when the iPad Air was first launched. Apple saw a huge demand for its large screened iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices, which also attributed to a decline in its iPad sales. According to the report Apple's tablet shipments fell 18 percent in Q4 2014, while rival Samsung posted its first annual decline in tablet shipments by nearly 24 percent.
Tech giant Apple gained nearly 30 percent of the market in Q4 2014, driven by its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales. Rival Samsung, did not fare well and its shipments were impacted by inventory issues. Other manufacturers like Amazon shipped 4 million tablets, grabbing a 6 percent market share, Lenovo shipped 3.7 million units, for a 5.5 pc market share, marking its best-performing quarter ever, followed by Microsoft which sold over 2 million tablets driven by its Surface Pro 3.
Canalys says that the fall in demand is impacting both high-end and cheaper tablets. In Q4 2014, 7-inch Android tablets declined to half of all Android tablet shipments, a considerable drop from the 66 percent market share in Q1 2014.
Rushabh Doshi, a Singapore-based analyst stated, ‘In Q4 2014, 7" tablets made up half of total Android tablet shipments, a segment that has seen steady declines from a high of 66% in the first quarter of the year. Demand in this segment has decreased due to cannibalization from large-screen smart phones and the intense price competition that has seen margins evaporate, making the segment unattractive to both vendors and channel partners.’
He adds, 'Canalys expects growth in 2015 to come from tablets with screen sizes larger than 8" as vendors look to improve margins and micro-brand players exit the market.'