The global tablet market continues to show signs of slowing down, with IDC scaling back its five-year forecast and predicting that global shipments would increase by just 2.1 per cent to 234.5 million in 2015.
That compares with growth of 4.4 per cent to 229.6 million units in 2014. The fourth quarter of 2014 also witnessed the first year-on-year decline in worldwide tablet shipments, when overall shipments for tablets and 2-in-1 devices fell by 3.2 per cent year on year to 76.1 million units.
In terms of platforms, Android will remain the leader with close to two-thirds of the market over the course of the forecast. At the same time, former market leader Apple iOS is expected to see its volume share of the market decline in 2015, reaching levels below that of the past three years. IDC described iOS--the basis for Apple iPads--as "likely the weakest link" on the tablets market.
Although the outlook for 2015 has been tempered, IDC said it still expects low but positive growth for the market in the years to come as demand in the commercial sector increases, and as Microsoft slowly gains a foothold.
"Despite the growing popularity of phablets, there still remains a portion of the market that wants to use a larger device so they can tailor their experience to the appropriate screen size," said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst at IDC.
Ubrani noted that an increasing number of vendors behind small tablets are reducing prices and adopting features like voice calling to entice consumers to purchase their products over competing phablets, "making the dynamics of phablets vs voice-capable tablets an interesting one to watch."
Despite modest adoption rates to date, Windows is expected to gain significant share in the next few years, increasing from 5.1 per cent in 2014 to 14.1 per cent in 2019.
"Microsoft is doing a lot of good things right now and we believe the launch of Windows 10 later this year will not only have a significant impact on Microsoft's share of the market, but on the industry as a whole," said Jean Philippe Bouchard, research director at IDC. "There is an appetite for a platform that can provide a productivity experience that remains consistent across multiple form factors and device types, and we believe Microsoft is well positioned to capture some of that demand."
- see this IDC report
Jolla signs first Sailfish Alliance partner, as it seeks device OEMs
GSA: 1,275 new LTE devices launched in past year
Kantar: Apple's share of smartphone OS market grows further in Q4
IDC: Worldwide tablet shipments experience first year-on-year decline in Q4
Apple closes in on Samsung as global smartphone sales hit new records in 2014