Tablet shipments waning, but still outpace laptops: Canalys

Tablet shipments waning, but still outpace laptops: Canalys

Summary: Once again, the "death" of Windows XP might actually be breathing new life into the flailing PC market.

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A bit of good news for the PC industry: Shipments were actually up worldwide during the first quarter, according to the latest report from Canalys.

According to the market research firm, approximately 123.7 million PCs shipped worldwide during the first quarter of 2014, up five percent year-over-year. That estimate includes tablets as well as laptops and desktops.

The potential surprise to industry followers is that the tablet sector might be showing the first signs of slowing down given that growth stilted to 21 percent annually.

Canalys senior writer Tim Coulling honed in on Apple in the report, observing the "fall in iPad shipments in Q1 was the sharpest ever."

Nevertheless, there is no need to overreact -- at least on the part of tablet makers and lovers -- being that tablets still accounted for 41 percent of the overall PC market compared to just 38 percent nabbed by notebooks.

And as far as Apple goes, Coulling also didn't seem worried for the iPad maker.

Apple took action during the quarter to run down its iPad inventory, a smart move as tablet stock in the channel rose due to strong seasonal shipments in the previous quarter. Longer term, we do not believe Apple’s Q1 performance points to a decline in the tablet category, despite growing pressure from larger-screen smart phones. Consumers, and increasingly businesses, are continuing to adapt, with tablets acting as disruptors and finding their place as desktop and notebook replacements. Apple’s ecosystem and the recent launch of Office for iPad should ensure it is well placed to remain a leader for some time.

As for the rest of the world's top PC vendors, Lenovo's market share increase by two points to 12 percent while Samsung slipped to fourth place just behind Hewlett-Packard.

The decline for laptops continues to be a spiraling, but still complex, story. Canalys researchers reflected on the dwindling shipments by pointing toward poor commercial sales in Western Europe and North America. Even China, now the world's second largest PC market, also exhibited declines.

On the flip side, they also offered a glimmer of hope. Once again, the "death" of Windows XP might actually be breathing new life into the flailing PC market.

Analysts explained, "Commercial shipments the world over have been lifted by the end of life of Windows XP, a trend that also influenced desktops, helping shipments to remain flat year on year."

Chart via Canalys

Topics: Mobility, Android, iOS, Tablets, Tech Industry

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24 comments
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  • Well i think its again inflated sales

    All i hear is how many units of tablets are being sold.. yet where are they? Where do you see someone using a tablet in the real world? Its very rare. I know I own 3 tablets and rarely use any of them. One is basically a nightstand clock for me...
    I think alot of the tablets sold are low cost devices which are used around the house, or older people who just want to check email without an actual computer.
    Other than that you rarely see someone actually using a tablet, but yet laptops are everywhere!
    Also one has to think about the fact that most people in North America, and Western Europe already have laptops, and many in eastern europe aswell... So they would be buying a tablet as a supporting device possibly, instead of replacing their laptop.
    Jimster480
    • Seriously?

      You need to expand your world view before commenting on a site like you are some sagacious pundit.
      CornheadsBack
      • You need to stop...

        ... using words like "sagacious"... it has "pompous douchebag" written all over it.
        ribzilla
    • The evolution of modern computing

      Everyone in this chain of comments has some good points. However, we are missing the big point in this "Tablet vs PC" debate, and that is the very nature of computing and content consumption is changing. Furthermore, we are forgetting that historical precedent exists for transformations of this kind....when the laptop replaced the desktop. I remember how many traditionalist were lining up to denounce the laptop for the same reasons you see people opposing the tablet/smartphone now. The desktop was eventually eclipsed and surpassed by the laptop in the marketplace, just as the laptop will be.

      The "Cloud" is the future of modern computing, were software as a service and non local storage dominate. It offers people the chance to be even more mobile than they have been in the past with their computing needs. And this, historically, appears to be the direction that people and businesses want to go in, because first and foremost people are creatures of convenience and prefer to use the most appropriate tool for the job.
      matzah37
    • Tablet Hype

      I have a tablet that I barely use. Tablets are fun toys but I find my self reaching for the iPod Touch, Chromebook and Windows laptop more than I do for the tablet.
      LongingCrib
  • Tablet vs PC? Not really

    All tech news sites these days seem to be covering the "Tablet vs PC" battle. I think that's about as unfounded as trying to cover a "Car vs Airplane" battle. They have different purposes and will continue to be used in parallel. What will NOT happen is one taking over the other. Tablets are only superior to the PC in areas that the PC is already weak, such as extreme mobility. There will ALWAYS be a market for PCs because it is a different market than that for tablets. Yes, there is some overlap, but tablets will never "take over" PCs.
    AnomalyTea
    • Umm wrong

      What is not mentioned in this report is the rise of the smartphone. Currently 67% of people in the US have one. And I would venture to say those phones do everything the mass user wants to do. So that means do they even need a tablet?

      One thing is for certain, nobody buys a desktop pc anymore unless you are an uber-nerd. I honestly can't think of anything less sexy than a desktop pc. W7 was the last major OS to be released and adopted. There won't be another. This isn't about the future anymore. It is now and that means mobile plus cloud.

      Sony recognized this and that is why they sold off the Vaio pc and laptop line and have refocused on phones and tablets.
      CornheadsBack
      • Disney Completed Toy Story 3 on a Smartphone

        It's true! Disney does ALL of its PIXAR work on iPhone 5's. From start to finish..

        Sounds stupid? You bet it does.
        ribzilla
        • U need a reading comprehension class

          I said, "mass-user." That's right, ribzilla. The same sort of person who could care less about how a mainframe works. Oh! And btw genius, Pixar doesn't use desktop pc's either. They use workstations and server farms for their content creation. Hardly something the mass-user would even know about and it would seem neither do u.
          CornheadsBack
        • Wierd...

          "I honestly can't think of anything less sexy than a desktop pc"

          So... you're turned on by what... an iPhone?
          ribzilla
          • u should learn how to spell

            It's weird
            CornheadsBack
          • Weird

            I thought it was spelled "you".

            I think you missed a few letters....
            William.Farrel
      • Ummm... Wrong

        Nobody buys desktops anymore? Wow.. you should tell EVERY major business in the World, because they ALL buy desktops in great numbers.

        Stop evaluating the World based upon what you and your friends at the comic book store think.
        ribzilla
      • Nobody buys a desktop pc anymore unless you are an uber-nerd?

        Didn't something like 300 million PC's sell in 2013?

        So you're claiming that all 300 million were bought by uber-nerds?

        One thing is for certain - you really need to brush up on things.
        William.Farrel
  • Tablet shipments waning, but still outpace laptops: Canalys

    Tablets had their run and now they are going away. About time this fad went away. Tablets just aren't a good form factor and you can easily see how awkward the devices were when they were introduced a few years ago. As for outpacing laptops, that is because a laptop will last a lot longer than a tablet.
    Loverock.Davidson
    • Tablets are going away? Tell me, what color is the sky in your world?

      Tablet are not "going away". They have a place, just like the desktop and laptop.

      It's moronic to make blanket statements like this. It's like saying that mayonnaise is going away because people are buying Miracle Whip.
      ribzilla
      • Where is that place?

        Its not a blanket statement, its a factual statement. Where is that place for tablets? I don't see one. They are awkward to use, not as powerful as a laptop or PC. It was all hype around them.
        Loverock.Davidson
        • Oh... it was a "factual" statement

          The "place" for tablets is anywhere that someone needs content without bulk...

          1. A salesperson in the field who needs to present content to a prospect

          2. A medical professional who needs to pull up patient information will moving from room to room

          3. A floor manager in a factory who needs real-time inventory information

          I mean, are you seriously unable to envision scenarios where a tablet would be preferable to a laptop or desktop?
          ribzilla
          • Come on

            Do not be dense. Tablet are stock between unltra smartphone/phalet and ultrapowerful pcs. They have a limited space unless, people follow msft lead and make that can truly replace pcs.
            Now msft vision do seem so MAD!
            revben
          • You mean the same failed vision Microsoft had since 2000?

            Where full blown tablets PCs were going to be on everyone's desk and in every meeting? Looks like they are still struggling decades later to get consumers to buy into that failed vision of having this hybrid tablet/PC hardware. The Surface PCs weren't exactly hot sellers. So why would anyone follow that vision, again and again?
            dave95.