The sales of tablet computers may be leveling off, with shipments dropping 35.7% when the first quarter of 2014 is compared with the 2013 holiday season, according to International Data Corp. (IDC)
Apple has shipped 16.4 million iPads since the first of the year, but that’s a drop of more than three million over the first quarter of 2013, while Samsung increased its first-quarter shipments to 11.2 million.
At the same time, phablet sales are on the rise, which the IDC report suggests is a direct threat to tablet sales. Phablets combine the smartphone and tablet into one device, using a display screen of 6 in. or larger. The three Galaxy Note phablets from Samsung have sold well, with devices from HTC, LG, Nokia, and Sony also becoming big sellers.
IDC also said replacement cycles for tablets have become an issue. Manufacturers usually implement modest upgrades to the devices, making it easier for consumers to hang on to older models for longer periods of time.
“The rise of large-screen phones and consumers who are holding on to their existing tablets for ever-longer periods of time were both contributing factors to a weaker-than-anticipated quarter for tablets,” said Tom Mainelli, program vice president for devices and displays at IDC. “In addition, commercial growth has not been robust enough to offset the slowing of consumer shipments.”