Worldwide tablet shipments fell 12% year on year to 67 million units in Q4 2014, according to the latest research published by Canalys. The desktop market also fell back into a decline in the fourth quarter as Windows XP upgrades waned. The notebook market held firm with another quarter of just 1% growth, Canalys said.
Total PC shipments (desktops, notebooks and tablets) fell 6% in Q4 to reach 148 million units, resulting in full-year 2014 shipments of 528 million units, up 3% on 2013. Apple regained the top spot in the PC market on the strength of holiday sales, with just under 27 million units shipped. Lenovo’s shipments grew 6% year on year to almost 20 million units as it increased its market share to 13.3%. Samsung dropped out of the top three to make way for HP, with growth of 17% driving shipments over 17 million units, its best quarter since Q3 2011.
Apple’s year-on-year tablet shipments declined once again (down by 18%) – now the fourth quarter of this trend. Second-placed Samsung could also not repeat its tablet success of Q4 2013, with its first annual decline of 24% to 11 million units.
It was a different story for the other top-tier vendors, which all grew. Seasonal sales saw Amazon take back the third-place position it occupied a year ago, with 4 million units giving it a 6% share. Lenovo had its best ever quarter, shipping 3.7 million units for a 5.5% market share. Other notable highlights included Microsoft hitting just over 2 million shipments, and HP crossing the million unit threshold in tablets.
In addition to the slowdown at the top of the tablet market, the low end, which primarily consists of 7" Android devices, also suffered significant declines.
Canalys expects growth in 2015 to come from tablets with screen sizes larger than 8" as vendors look to improve margins and micro-brand players exit the market.
Microsoft’s own-branded devices accounted for just over a third of worldwide shipments of Windows tablets as Surface Pro 3 sales continued to gain momentum.
In the notebook market, Windows with Bing has proved to be a success in volume terms as Microsoft responded to increasing competition from Chromebooks in certain markets. Canalys expects declines in the first half of 2015 as notebook inventories rebalance and the subsequent retail price increases will certainly stifle consumer demand.