SAN FRANCISCO — Tablet shipments declined 5.4 percent year-over-year in the third quarter, the 12th consecutive quarter of declining shipments for the once hot electronics device, according to market research firm IDC.
IDC (Framingham, Mass.) maintains that the tablet market is caught in "an awkward middle ground that it has not been able to escape" precipitated by the growing demand for smartphones, the lengthening replacement cycle of tablets and the strengthening position of traditional PCs.
Tablet shipments declined to 40 million units in the third quarter, down from a peak of 78.6 million shipments in the fourth quarter of 2013, IDC said. Shipments increased sequentially from about 38 million units in the second quarter.
Apple remains the industry leader in tablet shipments, shipping about 10.3 million iPads in the third quarter, IDC said, good for market share of about 25.8 percent.
"There's a penchant for low-cost slates and this holds true even for premium vendors like Apple," said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst with IDC's quarterly tablet shipments, in a press statement. "However, many of these low-cost slates are simply long-awaited replacements for consumers as first-time buyers are becoming harder to find and the overall installed base for these devices declines further in the coming years."
Growth in the detachable tablet market has been slower than expected as Apple and Microsoft are essentially the only two vendors supplying the category and other PC vendors champion the convertible PC form factor, IDC said.
— Dylan McGrath is the editor-in-chief of EE Times.