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After posting their first year-over-year decline in tablet shipments for fourth quarter of 2014, device makers saw demand dip again at the start of 2015.
International Data Corporation (IDC) today released the results from its Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, indicating that the meteoric rise of the mobile device class may be a thing of the past. According to the analyst group's data, tablet shipments fell 5.9 percent during Q1 2015, year-over-year. All told, shipments totaled 47.1 million units during the quarter.
The news is not all bad, according to IDC research director Jean Philippe Bouchard. "The market slowdown that we witnessed last quarter is continuing to impact the tablet segment, but we see some growth areas that are starting to materialize," he said in a statement.
In particular, tablets that feature high-speed cellular radios and can venture beyond trusted Wi-Fi networks are growing more popular. "Cellular-enabled tablets are outgrowing the rest of the market, providing an additional revenue stream for OEMs and mobile operators. In addition to driving higher usage than Wi-Fi-only tablets, cellular-enabled tablets also help position the segment as true mobile solutions rather than stay-at-home devices," he stated.
Another bright spot: 2-in-1s.
"While 2-in-1, or detachables, still account for a small portion of the overall market, growth in this space has been stunning as vendors like Asus, Acer, and E-FUN have been able to offer products at a fantastic value; and vendors like Microsoft have been able to drive growth at the high end with devices like the Surface Pro 3," said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst, IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker.
Tablet vendors may also want to start wooing enterprises, IDC's research suggests.
"The commercial segment remains an area to watch for both tablets and 2-in-1's," stated IDC. "However, as of now, commercial uptake has been relatively slow as IT buyers continue to evaluate their mobile strategies."
Despite a sharp drop of nearly 23 percent, Apple still led the tablet market with shipments of 12.6 million iPads in Q1, enough to claim the number one spot with a 26.8 percent share of the market. Samsung followed with shipments of 9 million tablets and 19.1 percent of the market.
Lenovo came in third with 2.5 million tablets, a 23 percent year-over-year increase. Asus and LG rounding out the top five with shipments of 1.8 million and 1.4 million units, respectively.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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