Sizzling hot tablet sales have cooled a bit, but should reignite with the release of a new iPad model later this year, market tracker International Data Corp (IDC) reported on Monday.
The report came as research firm Forrester forecast that tablet sales would rise rapidly worldwide in the years ahead.
Global tablet shipments in the second quarter of this year declined 9.7 percent from the prior three-month period, IDC said.
However, tablet shipments climbed nearly 60 percent to 45.1 million units compared with the same quarter last year, IDC said.
A quarter-on-quarter slowdown in sales was expected, given that Apple Inc did not release a new version of its coveted iPad early in the year as it had in the past, according to IDC analysts.
“A new iPad launch always piques consumer interest in the tablet category and traditionally that has helped both Apple and its competitors,” IDC tablets research director Tom Mainelli said. “By the fourth quarter, we expect new products from Apple, Amazon and others to drive impressive growth in the market.”
Worldwide tablet sales will reach 381 million units in 2017, with business use accounting for 18 percent of purchases, according to a Forrester forecast authored by J.P. Gownder and Michael O’Grady.
“We believe tablet sales and penetration will continue to grow rapidly,” Gownder said in a blog post on Monday. “In developed markets, they will streak past ‘mass market’ status to become what we term ‘mainstay’ devices — a third form factor carried by most online consumers.”
Apple shipped 14.6 million iPads during the second quarter of this year, a 14.1 percent drop from the same quarter last year, IDC said.
Meanwhile, sales of tablets grew for Apple rivals Samsung Electronics Co, Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) and Acer Inc (宏碁), market figures showed.
“The tablet market is still evolving and vendors can rise and fall quickly as a result,” IDC mobility tracker program manager Ryan Reith said.
“Apple aside, the remaining vendors are still very much figuring out which platform strategy will be successful over the long run,” he added.
While Apple remained the top tablet maker, the Google-backed Android mobile software used by a variety of the California company’s competitors accounted for 62.6 percent of the market in the second quarter, IDC said.
“To date, Android has been far more successful than the Windows 8 platform,” Reith said, in a reference to Microsoft’s operating system. “However, Microsoft-fueled products are starting to make notable progress into the market.”
About 2 million Windows-powered tablets were shipped in the second quarter, an increase of more than five times from the same period last year, IDC said.
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