iPad had first full year of decline in 2014, report says
Image: Mashable, Christina Ascani
The tablet market may be in even worse shape than we thought.
When the dust has settled, 2014 is expected to be the first full year iPad shipments have declined each quarter. That's according to a new report from research firm IDC.
The drop in sales is part of a larger trend that IDC describes as a 'massive deceleration' in the worldwide tablet market. The company predicts tablet sales worldwide will still have grown overall in 2014, but the annual rate of that growth has shrunk to 7.2% - compared with 52.5% in 2013.
The news isn't entirely surprising- especially for Apple, which has dealt with slumping iPad sales for some time. It's worth pointing out, however, that Apple still dominates the U.S. market share for tablets.
IDC cites two possible reasons for the sharp decline: consumers tend to hang on to their tablets much longer than smartphones, and smartphones themselves are growing larger, increasingly cannibalizing tablet sales.
'In the early stages of the tablet market, device lifecycles were expected to resemble those of smartphones, with replacement occurring every 2-3 years,' Ryan Reith, a program director for IDC, said in a statement. 'What has played out instead is that many tablet owners are holding onto their devices for more than 3 years and in some instances more than 4 years.
'We believe the two major drivers for longer than expected tablet lifecycles are legacy software support for older products, especially within iOS, and the increased use of smartphones for a variety of computing tasks.'
Though Reith didn't elaborate on the last point, many have questioned how tablets fit into a world where phablets (larger-screen smartphones like the iPhone 6Plus and Google's Nexus 6) are increasingly dominant.
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