Tablet PC shipments accounted for 40 per cent of PC shipments in Q3 2013, less than half a million units behind global notebook shipments. In 2014, Canalys forecasts 285 million units will be shipped. This figure will grow to 396 million units in 2017, it predicts. Apple and Samsung are expected keep ahead of their competitors in the medium term, but there could be challenges for both vendors as competition in the tablet market continues to heat up.
Apple managed to stay on top throughout 2013, with the new iPad Air and iPad mini expected to strengthen the position in Q4. “Apple’s decline in PC market share is unavoidable when considering its business model. Samsung narrowly took the lead in EMEA this quarter and Apple will lose its position to competitors in more markets in the future,” said Canalys Senior Analyst Tim Coulling in a release. “However, Apple is one of the few companies making money from the tablet boom. Premium products attract high value consumers; for Apple, remaining highly profitable and driving revenue from its entire ecosystem is of greater importance than market share statistics.”
While Canalys forecasts that Microsoft will take 5 per cent of the tablet PC market in 2014, as there will be another major shift due to its acquisition of Nokia. “To improve its position it must drive app development and better utilize other relevant parts of its business to round out its mobile device ecosystem,” said Canalys Research Analyst Pin Chen Tang. “A critical first step is to address the coexistence of Windows Phone and Windows RT. Having three different operating systems to address the smart device landscape is confusing to both developers and consumers alike.”
Android-derived operating systems are forecast to take 65 per cent share in 2014 with 185 million units. Samsung continues to lead with strong year-on-year growth coming from its broad tablet portfolio, and in Q3 2013 it had a 27 per cent share of Android tablet shipments. “With the cost and time-to-market advantages afforded by their Chinese supply chain, these small-to-micro brand vendors are eating up tablet market share. Vendors such as Nextbook in the United States, and Onda and Teclast in the People’s Republic of China ship more units than some of the major international top tier vendors in their home countries. The rise of small-to-micro brand vendors has proved that there is a demand in for entry-level Android tablets in every country and in every region,” commented Shanghai-based Analyst James Wang.