The End of Tablet Market Growth Is Near, IDC Predicts

The slate market is showing severe signs of over-saturation

The latest report published by the International Data Corporation (IDC) reveals global tablets shipments for the holiday quarter (Q4) has grown to an impressive 76.9 million.

Since figures in the last quarter of the year tend to be beefed up by all the Christmas activity, the numbers constitute a 62.4% increase compared to the previous quarter, and at the same time, a modest boost compared to last year (just 28.2%).

That’s not much when you remember 2012, which saw sales increase with a sky-rocketing 87.1% year-over-year.

As tablet sales continue to grow, one can’t seem but notice the increase has been toned down, a clear indicator of market saturation.

IDC analyst Tom Mainelli explains.

"It’s becoming increasingly clear that markets such as the U.S. are reaching high levels of consumer saturation and while emerging markets continue to show strong growth this has not been enough to sustain the dramatic worldwide growth rates of years past."

"We expect commercial purchases of tablets to continue to accelerate in mature markets, but softness in the consumer segment — brought about by high penetration rates and increased competition for the consumer dollar — point to a more challenging environment for tablets in 2014 and beyond."

Global tablet shipments for 2013 amounted to 217.1 million units, which translates into a 50.6% growth over 2012 (with only 144.2 million units).

Apple remains the industry leader in Q4 2014, shipping 22.9 million units, translated into a 13.5% growth year-over-year, which is pretty sluggish. The positive results are attributed to Cupertino’s still-new iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display appeal, which still draws customers in.

On the other hand, Samsung saw its shipments rise with an impressive 85.9% and judging by the fact the Korean tech giant has already launched six new slates this month, we might see it achieve even bigger growth in Q1 2014.

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