NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet vs Samsung Tab S 8.3-4

Tablet sales lost some momentum during the fourth quarter of 2014, according to new research from IDC that suggests tablet sales fell for the first time year-over-year during Q4. The research firm said that OEMs shipped a total of 76.1 million tablets and 2-in-1 devices in Q4, down 3.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013. Overall, though, sales for the year were up 4.4 percent to 229.6 million units, thanks to healthier growth during the first three quarters of 2014.

Apple is still king of the tablet market with 21.4 million tablets shipped, even though iPad sales are also slowing. Samsung shipped 11 million units during the quarter, followed by Lenovo with 3.7 million tablets shipped, Asus (3 million) and Amazon (1.7 million). IDC said Apple and Samsung may be partially to blame for the overall sales slump; Apple shipments slipped 17.8 percent year-over-year while Samsung’s slipped 18.4 percent.

“The tablet market is still very top heavy in the sense that it relies mostly on Apple and Samsung to carry the market forward each year,”  IDC senior research analyst Jitesh Ubrani explained. “Although Apple expanded its iPad lineup by keeping around older models and offering a lower entry price point of $249, it still wasn’t enough to spur iPad sales given the excitement around the launch of the new iPhones. Meanwhile, Samsung’s struggles continued as low-cost vendors are quickly proving that mid- to high-priced Android tablets simply aren’t cut out for today’s tablet market.”

IDC said it expects the tablet market to grow in 2015 as gesture-based UIs and Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system are introduced to the market.