Are tablets losing steam? Apple’s iPad sales seem to suggest so

Apple leads global PC market even though its share fell from 20 per cent to 17 per cent

By: Tech Desk | Published: May 9, 2014 11:54:55 am
iPad shipments in Q1 fell 16 per cent to 16.4 million iPad shipments in Q1 fell 16 per cent to 16.4 million

It seems we are finally getting tired of the tablet. According to latest reports from Canalys research, growth in tablet shipments slowed to 21 per cent even as they continued to out-ship notebooks at 50.8 million units. Meanwhile, worldwide client PC shipments reached 123.7 million units in Q1 2014, up 5 per cent over last year, driven primarily by the end of support for Windows XP.

Tablets accounted for 41 per cent of the market, while notebooks were behind at 38 per cent. However, the worldwide decline in notebooks slowed to 7 per cent as Western Europe continued to grow and North America remained flat.

Tablets saw strong growth in the Middle East (100%), Greater China (74%) and Central and Eastern Europe (47%), while the US market saw negative growth affected by a drop in Apple iPad shipments, which fell 40 per cent. This was offset somewhat China, Apple’s second largest market, where it witnessed a 20% growth.

Worldwide, iPad shipments in Q1 fell 16 per cent to 16.4 million and accounted for 80 per cent of Apple’s total PC shipments. Despite this, Apple continued to lead the global PC market even as its share fell both sequentially and year on year from 20 per cent to 17 per cent.

“The fall in iPad shipments in Q1 was the sharpest ever,” said Canalys Senior Analyst Tim Coulling. “Apple took action during the quarter to run down its iPad inventory, a smart move as tablet stock in the channel rose due to strong seasonal shipments in the previous quarter. Longer term, we do not believe Apple’s Q1 performance points to a decline in the tablet category, despite growing pressure from larger-screen smart phones. Consumers, and increasingly businesses, are continuing to adapt, with tablets acting as disruptors and finding their place as desktop and notebook replacements. Apple’s ecosystem and the recent launch of Office for iPad should ensure it is well placed to remain a leader for some time,” he added.

Lenovo now has a 12 per cent market share with 15.0 million units and is placed first, second and third in the notebook, desktop and tablet markets respectively.  “Lenovo was quick to move with new form factors and its Yoga line now dominates the global convertible notebook market,” said Canalys Analyst James Wang. “In addition, it has diversified its tablet portfolio and has product SKUs in all key market segments. Unlike Apple, with its ‘one size fits all’ tablet strategy, Lenovo and others are free to tailor tablets to specific market segments. The tablet form factor is well liked by both young and old consumers; product customization can be beneficial in both cases.”

Samsung’s PC shipments suffered due to its exit from the mainstream notebook market. This helped HP push the Korean giant to fourth place. Shipments of 12.9 million units gave HP an 11 per cent share of the PC market.
“With fewer than 4,00,000 tablets shipped in the quarter, HP still has much work to do,” said Canalys VP and Principal Analyst Chris Jones.

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