Global Shipments of Tablets See First-Ever Decline, Report Finds

Managing Editor

We’ve reported recently that a growing number of schools are turning away from tablets and choosing Chromebooks, drawn by those laptops’ low cost and ease in promoting collaboration among teachers and students, among other factors. Now, new data suggests that at more of a macro level, the market for tablets is also hit some rough ground.

Overall global shipments for tablets and 2-in-1 devices—typically defined as tablets that can also function as notebooks with an attachable keyboard—rose 4 percent for all of 2014, according to estimates released this week by the International Data Corp.

But for the most recent, fourth quarter, year-to-year shipments of tablets declined for the first time since tracking of those devices began five years ago, the IDC found. Shipments fell by 3.2 percent, to 76.1 million.

That’s the first time there’s been a year-over-year drop since 2010, reports the IDC, a Framingham, Mass.-company that tracks trends in the technology and telecommunications industries.

Not surprisingly, Apple remained the top dog in the global tablet market, shipping 21.4 million units in the fourth quarter of 2014, more than double the size of Samsung’s share of the market. The analysis doesn’t include a breakdown that’s specific to education, said Jitesh Ubrani, a senior research analyst for the IDC.

Here’s IDC’s breakdown of the quarter-by-quarter, company-by-company shifts in the market for tablets:



IDC found that Apple’s share of the market over the past year slipped from 33.1 percent to 21.4 percent.

The company’s year-over-year growth dropped by 17.8 percent. Slippage was seen among some of its rivals, including Samsung (down 18.9 percent) and ASUS (down 25 percent). Lenovo, meanwhile, saw 9 percent growth.

All of this is not to say that tablets are on their way out anytime soon, the IDC points out. In fact, despite the recent dip, tablets could have a strong year in 2015, the organization reports—if a variety of technology innovations to screens and other features take hold, and win over buyers.


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