TABLET SALES have faltered for the first time, analyst outfit NPD Displaysearch reports, with shipments declining in the first quarter of 2014.
NPD's latest report, looking at tablet sales in the first quarter, claims that shipments of the devices have shown a year on year decline for the first time. The report says that tablet shipment numbers came in at 56 million for the three month period, representing a decline compared to the same quarter in 2013.
Because of this, NPD has lowered its forecast for total 2014 tablet shipments to 285 million, predicting 14 percent year on year growth. However, the research group failed to say what the figure was previously.
The firm credits this decline to the growing popularity of phablet devices, echoing similar claims from IDC research, adding that smaller 7in and 8in tablets are likely to be hit worse by the growing trend of large-screened smartphones. The firm says that while so-called "mini" tablets likely will account for 58 percent of tablet sales in 2014, "this will gradually decline in 2014 and beyond".
"Major brands are likely to move to larger sizes, and shipments of 8-10.9in tablet PCs will overtake 7-7.9in tablet PCs by 2018," NPD added.
The firm also credits the falling demand for tablets, much like Samsung did earlier this week, on the long replacement cycle of large-screen devices.
Hisakazu Torii, VP of smart application research at NPD Displaysearch, said, "Most major brands have recently reduced their business plans for 2014. There is a risk that the replacement cycle for tablet PCs will lengthen beyond the one to two year range unless brands can develop more attractive usage scenarios."
NPD also revealed that, while tablet sales are in decline, shipments of PC devices are increasing due to Windows XP migration. µ