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Apple and Samsung continue to lead 'challenging' tablet market

IDC data shows sales are slowing due to rise in phablet devices
Fri May 02 2014, 11:16

INTERNATIONAL DATA CORPORATION (IDC) has revealed that Apple and Samsung continue to dominate the tablet market, despite sales of devices beginning to slow.

Research firm IDC's latest report shows that while Apple and Samsung kept their leads in sales, the tablet market is starting to falter.

According to the report, sales of tablets, including sales of two-in-one PC hybrid devices, totaled 50.4 million units in the first quarter. That was just a 3.9 percent increase from the same period a year ago, and down 35.7 percent from the previous quarter.

IDC credited the slowing growth to the rise in popularity of phablets, with smartphone screen sizes getting bigger and bigger. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3, for example, has a 5.7in touchscreen, eliminating the need for a separate tablet. IDC said the weak growth also comes as sales of two-in-one PC devices have not been as impressive as hoped.

IDC VP of devices Tom Mainelli said, "The rise of large-screen phones and consumers who are holding on to their existing tablets for ever longer periods of time were both contributing factors to a weaker than anticipated quarter for tablets and [two-in-ones].

"In addition, commercial growth has not been robust enough to offset the slowing of consumer shipments."

Apple and Samsung aren't doing too badly in the tablet market, however, having shipped 16.4 million and 11.2 million devices, respectively, in the first quarter. While Samsung saw 32 percent growth year on year, it seems Apple began to feel the strain of the slowing market, as its market share slipped 16.1 percent.

As noted by IDC, however, this likely could be because users are holding onto their iPads for longer, rather than upgrading every two years.

Asus came third on IDC's list with 2.5 million tablet sales in the first quarter, which the research firm said was sparked by growth of Windows 8.1 tablet sales.

IDC researcher Jitesh Ubrani said, "Although its share of the market remains small, Windows devices continue to gain traction thanks to sleeper hits like the Asus T100, whose low cost and 2-in-1 form factor appeal to those looking for something that's 'good enough'." µ 


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