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.
Source: IDC & Canalys
According to Chitika, Microsoft’s tablet market share has increased by 60% year-over-year when collecting data for the month of September. However percentage-wise it’s still only at 1.6% of the overall tablet market in the US, while Apple is in a very comfortable lead at 79.9%.
It’s worth mentioning that this only takes into account Windows RT which includes the original Surface RT and Surface 2, and does not include any of the Pro models. Surface Pro 3 is reportedly selling well for Microsoft and we’re curious to see how the numbers would compare when taking into account all the Surface Pro models.
When comparing to other OEMs in the tablet market, it doesn’t look too bad for Microsoft as they all seem to be in the single digits percentage-wise. If Microsoft releases the long awaited Surface Mini and upgrades its current crop of Windows RT devices (not sure if they will) then moving up a rank or two seems plausible.
Here is the method that Chitika uses to determine their results:
To determine the distribution of Web usage among leading tablet brands for September 2014, Chitika Insights sampled tens of millions of U.S. and Canadian tablet-based online ad impressions running through the Chitika Ad Network. The data used to compile current usage share were drawn across the time range of September 1 through 30, 2014. The historical year-over-year data were drawn across the time range of September 1 through 30, 2013.
A survey of U.S. teenagers by Piper Jaffray reveals that a growing number of teens in the U.S. are eager to buy a Surface tablet. Currently, Microsoft’s tablet has 10% share in this market segment, but what is rather interesting is that the study of more than 7,200 teens in America finds that 19% of all teens expect to buy a Surface tablet in the next six months, “which seems to point to some early favor among teens of the Microsoft tablet, perhaps due to its productivity features,” according to the Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.
Apple is still the king among tablets for teenagers in the U.S. holding a strong 66% of the market share, but with Microsoft’s strong marketing push to get kids to use their tablets as they are optimized for productivity, we expect the Redmond software company to keep gaining ground and perhaps become the #2 contender.
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 has been receiving a lot of positive attention recently, and coupled with a great advertising campaign-word of mouth is spreading really fast. Surface Pro 3 is certainly a hit, so much that it’s bringing attention to their lower cost Surface devices, and with a rumored announcement for new Surface devices running Windows RT, things are really starting to look up for Microsoft and their tablet business.