Both IDC and Canalys released their respective tablet shipment numbers representing the fourth quarter of 2014 and they show the first ever year-over-year decline since the modern tablet era began in 2010.
Four out of the top 5 vendors saw a decline in fourth quarter shipments. It’s also worth noting that IDC includes 2-in-1 devices such as the Surface Pro 3 in their tablet shipment numbers and Canalys does not.
IDC counts 76.1 million tablets and 2-in-1 devices shipped for the quarter which represents a 3.2% decline compared to the same time a year earlier.
Canalys on the other hand reports a 12% year-over-year drop with a 67 million unit figure. However, both IDC and Canalys report Apple retaining their number one position but declining 18% to 21.4 million tablets compared to 26 million in Q4 of 2014, while Samsung declined a massive 24% with 11 million units shipped compared to 13.5 million in Q4 of 2013.
Interestingly, Canalys who counts only tablets with mobile OS’s and excludes 2-in-1 devices like the Surface Pro 3 and Windows based PC’s from other vendors, has Microsoft pegged at 2 million tablets shipped, which means that these are Windows RT based tablets. They also report that there were in excess of 6 million Windows tablets shipped for the quarter which puts Windows tablets at 9% share.
IDC says that “Microsoft’s new OS, a general shift towards larger screen form factor and productivity focused solutions, and technology innovations such as gesture interface that could be introduced in tablets will help the market maintain positive growth in 2015.”
Canalys expects growth in 2015 to come from tablets with screen sizes larger than 8″ as vendors look to improve margins and micro-brand players exit the market. Some of this change will be driven by growth of the Windows platform.