2014 Marks the First Annual Shipments Decline for Tablets as Lenovo Knocked Off Amazon to Become Number Three

3 Feb

According to TrendForce’s latest report, the tablet industry has entered its maturity as the worldwide tablets shipments in 2014 totaled 192 million units, a 2.2% decline compared with the previous year. Besides market saturation, tablets still do not have a strong productive role in everyday lives of consumers and are susceptible to substitution. As a result, the tablet market did not have a noticeable replacement demand and additional growth was limited.

“In addition to the first-ever drop in total shipment volume, the rankings of the global top five brands also changed in 2014,” said Caroline Chen, Notebook Analyst for TrendForce. The combined market shares of the top five brands fell from 70% in 2013 to 66.1% in 2014. Chen added, “This shows that the appeal of big-name brands is fading, and consumers are not as loyal to a particular brand as before with different options now in their horizons.”

Apple’s market share down to 33% while Samsung just kept its level

Apple maintained its lead in the 2014 market despite its tablet shipments dropped to 63.4 million units, a plunge of 14.6% compared with the previous year. Consumer had high hopes for iPads that matched the devices’ high prices. However, the latest generation of iPads do not offer extensive upgrades compared with the earlier generations, showing signs that the iPad’s hardware advancement has reached a ceiling.

At number two, Samsung too suffered a decline in tablet shipments. Its annual shipment volume for 2014 was 41 million units, a slight fall of 2.5%. Samsung product lines are relatively numerous, and it was able to compete in a wide range of product categories, from 7 to 12-inch tablets. Nonetheless, Samsung in 2014 struggled hard to keep the same level of tablet market share as the year before against cheaper alternatives and Apple products.

Lenovo managed to push Amazon out of the number three spot in the worldwide tablet brand rankings with its expansion of product lines and complete positioning in the price spectrum. Although Lenovo was still far behind number two in 2014, it has increased its market share to 5.6%.

ASUS took the fourth spot in the 2014 market. Despite not achieving its shipment target, ASUS successfully squeezed itself into the top five due to its promotion of US $99 tablets and its well-established Transformer product line.

2014 was not a good year for platform vendors as they saw their shipments decreased significantly. Amazon fell in rankings down to number five while Google was excluded from the top five brands altogether. Microsoft still was not able to join this selected group, but its Surface Pro 3 had successfully made an impact on the large-size tablets and 2-in-1 PC markets.

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