Tablet Market Slows

Global tablet shipments fell five percent sequentially in the second quarter of 2014, to 48.4 million units, as Apple and Samsung suffered shipment declines, according to Canalys.

Apple shipped just under 13.3 million iPads in its weakest quarter since the first quarter of  2012. Samsung shipped just under 8.9 million tablets during the quarter, which represents a sequential decline.

Apple and Samsung continue to account for 46 percent of global tablet shipments, and as a result many markets hinge on their combined success.

Tablet shipments in Asia Pacific (including China) came in eight percent lower, sequentially.

Shipments in EMEA fell 11 percent year on year, with declines in Central and Eastern Europe, and Western Europe negating growth in the Middle East and Africa. In Western Europe, sequential shipments fell 18 percent.

Canalys Senior Analyst Tim Coulling argues “a slowdown in the pace of innovation is creating an issue for tablet vendors.”

Some argue the tablet market already faces the old PC problem, where capabilities for new models is not sufficient to drive upgrades.

Some might now be wondering just how big the tablet market is going to be, a somewhat shocking development for a product that many observers say has been the fastest-adopted consumer product of all time.

Best Buy, for example, says tablet sales are “crashing.” And during its second quarter 2014 earnings call, Corning acknowledged it had seriously misjudged demand for glass that goes into tablets.

“We just got that really wrong about what was happening in the tablet market,” said Jim Flaws, Corning CFO. “And we have adjusted down our forecast for that dramatically compared to our original expectation.”

Tablets, recall, were supposed to be a prime example of the “post-PC” era. In May 2014, for example, IDC lowered its forecast for tablet sales to 12 percent annual growth, from an earlier forecast of 52 percent.
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