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Tablet Market Contracted 7% in Q2

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Vendors are shipping fewer tablets these days, and phablets like Apple's iPhone 6 Plus are partly to blame.

Tablet makers shipped 44.7 million units in the second quarter of 2015 (2Q15), a 7 percent drop compared to the same period a year ago, according to the latest results from International Data Corporation's (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. The research firm also noted that tablet demand also dipped 3.9 percent compared to the first quarter.

Upgradable, better-performing tablet hardware and phablets are making it harder for vendors to sell their wares, according to IDC senior research analyst Jitesh Ubrani.

"Longer life cycles, increased competition from other categories such as larger smartphones, combined with the fact that end users can install the latest operating systems on their older tablets has stifled the initial enthusiasm for these devices in the consumer market," remarked Ubrani, in a statement. And it might be up to businesses to spark a rebound.

"But with newer form factors like 2-in-1s, and added productivity-enabling features like those highlighted in iOS 9, vendors should be able to bring new vitality to a market that has lost its momentum," Ubrani added.

Jean Philippe Bouchard, IDC research director for Tablets, noticed "a profound shift in the vendor landscape as the top two vendors, Apple and Samsung, lose share in the overall market." Apple remained the top tablet vendor with shipments of 10.9 million iPads in 2Q15, nearly 18 percent fewer than last year, and a 24.5 percent share of the market. Samsung took second place with 7.6 million tablets and a market share of 17 percent.

"In the first quarter of the year, Apple and Samsung accounted for 45 percent of the market and this quarter, with the growth of vendors like LG, Huawei, and E FUN, their combined share dropped to 41 percent," Bouchard said in a statement. "Each of the growing vendors managed to address available pockets of growth in the market; connected tablets for LG and Huawei, larger tablets and 2-in-1s in the right price bands for E FUN."

Lenovo came in third with shipments of 2.5 million tablets. Huawei and LG tied for fourth place, each with shipments of 1.6 million units.

The top five's grip on the tablet is slipping, Bouchard said. Those vendors accounted "for 54 percent of the market, down from 58 percent last quarter," he said. "It is worth mentioning that Huawei enters the top 5 ranking for the first time, while E FUN has re-entered the top 10 after more than a year, further indicating that the vendor landscape is indeed evolving."

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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