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Tablet shipments grow to 76.9 million units in Q4 of 2013: IDC

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Tablet shipments grew to 76.9 million units in the fourth quarter of last year, which represents an increase of 28.2 percent over the same period a year earlier, according to preliminary data provided by the “Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker” of the International Data Corp., a unit of the privately held International Data Group. IDC noted the growth rate of the tablet market year over year was impressive, but the market-research company pointed out it paled in comparison with the 87.1 percent growth rate recorded in Q4 of 2012.

IDC reported worldwide tablet shipments totaled 217.1 million units in 2013 and 144.2 million units in 2012, which represents a growth rate of 50.6 percent.

According to Tom Mainelli, IDC tablets research director: “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.”

Tablet market share in Q4, 2013 and 2012

IDC also reported changes in worldwide tablet market share among the top five vendors in Q4 as follows:

• Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) share fell to 33.8 percent in 2013 from 38.2 percent in 2012.

• Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.’s (KRX:005935) share rose to 18.8 percent last year from 13.0 percent the previous year.

• Amazon.com Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) share fell to 7.6 percent in 2013 from 9.9 percent in 2012.

• Asustek Computer Inc.’s (TPE:2357) share was flat at 5.1 percent both years.

• Lenovo Group Ltd.’s (HKG:0992) share rose to 4.4 percent last year from 1.3 percent the previous year.

According to Jitesh Ubrani, IDC research analyst: “Lenovo’s access to the Chinese whitebox manufacturing infrastructure has helped it drive more low-priced tablet products into the market … The company’s strength in emerging markets, and its increased market share in adjoining markets such as [personal computers] and smartphones, makes it well positioned to see additional tablet gains in 2014.”

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