Despite modest PC market gains, tablet market expected to slow on iPad decline

This year will see the first full year of decline in iPad shipments, according to new figures, sending a signal to the rest of the tablet market.

As worldwide PC shipments continue to fall, tablet growth is decelerating at a rapid pace — partly thanks to the decline in iPad shipments this year.

New figures released on Tuesday by research firm IDC suggest even though PC market declines are greater, there’s even less optimism in the tablet market, where shipments have fallen off a cliff.

While the forecast for PC shipments have improved from a drop of 3.7 percent to 2.7 percent year-over-year, tablet shipments have fallen from 52.5 percent to just 7.2 percent.

This, the researchers say, will represent the first full year of decline in iPad shipments, which have traditionally powered the market it first carved out when it was released in 2010.

Not surprised by this, IDC's Ryan Reith said in remarks the tablet market "continues to be impacted by a few major trends happening in relevant markets." He added that tablet owners are holding onto their devices for more than three years, slowing the upgrade cycle down considerably.

"We believe the two major drivers for longer than expected tablet lifecycles are legacy software support for older products, especially within iOS, and the increased use of smartphones for a variety of computing tasks," he said.

Android currently leads the market in operating system share with 159.5 million shipments, or 67.7 percent of the market share this year.

That's compared to 65 million iPad shipments, or 27.5 percent of the share for the same period. But the iPad's growth has fallen by close to 13 percent year-over-year, the figures show.

Windows tablets have rocketed in growth by more than 67 percent to 10.9 million shipments, or 4.6 percent of the share. 

PC shipments are still expected to decline by 5 percent in 2014, but pressure from tablets is "waning," the report said.

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