ABI Research said that although 2014 was “lacklustre”, it predicted that there will be solid growth during the next five years with shipments of tablets close to 290 million units in 2019.
But the growth is not for every vendor – Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Google will show year on year falls in shipments.
On the other hand, Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG, Microsoft and Samsung are predicted to show higher volumes in 2014.
Senior analyst Jeff Orr doesn’t have good news for Apple. He said: “Historically, Apple has counted approximately 35 percent of its iPad sales in the last calendar quarter of the year. Unless Apple can pull off a 32+ million unit quarter, sales for 2014 will be down for the first year since the iPad launched.”
He said that Apple probably shipped 68 million iPads in 2014, but managed to sell 74 million in 2013.
On the operating systems front, Android has 54 percent of branded tablets, Apple iOS has fallen to 41 percent, and Windows 8 has a meagre five percent of shipments.
IDC said that the worldwide tablet market grew by 11.5 percent in the third quarter of 2014 – shipments totalled 53.8 million units.
The market research company said that sales were boosted by the “back to school” season and also an increased appetite for tablets in the US – one of the biggest markets.
Apple is still the leader in tablets, but is continuing to see a decline in its sales. It shipped 12.3 million units in the third quarter, while Samsung shipped 9.9 million units and despite being second has an 18.3 percent market share. Asus displaced Lenovo from number three.
Next was Asus, followed by Lenovo and in number five position is RCA, which got to its worldwide position by shipping 2.6 million tablets in the USA.
Because, according to market intelligence firm ABI Research, other vendors including Asus, Lenovo and Amazon are fighting hard for third place and creeping up on the leaders.
These emerging vendors are set to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.8 percent between 2014 and 2019. Lenovo, for example will ship 21 million tablets by 2019.
Samsung saw a 35 percent decline in growth between Q1 2014 and the second quarter, while Apple saw a 19 percent decline.
In the first quarter, Apple and Samsung had a hefty 72 percent of the marketplace but their combined market share dropped to 66 percent and that’s the way things are headed.
In fact, ABI Research thinks that advanced and mature markets are experiencing a stall in growth, partly because tablets don’t need replacing every few years like notebook PCs.
21.8 million units shipped in EMEA, a decline of 1.1 percent compared to the same quarter last year.
But Western Europe showed a growth of 8.6 percent, spurred by business demand. If that percentage is taken as a pie, commerical units showed an increase of 15.1 percent, while the retail market showed growth of 2.1 percent.
It’s the end of support for Windows XP that drove the rebound, according to Chrystelle Labesque of IDC. And companies have started to invest in IT again, she said. There is more business confidence. Neverless, the overall PC market in central and eastern Europe and in the Middle East and Africa showed a year on year decline of 12 percent.
HP did well, as did Lenovo, while Dell was in third place and Acer in fourth place. Asus took the fifth place.
A report from IDC said that PC tablets grew 111 percent year on year in the last quarter of 2013 in the Middle East and African (MEA) markets.
Shipments amounted to 3.45 million units and both the home segment and the corporate segment showed steady growth. The educational market also saw growth.
Huawei won a deal to supply around 90,000 units in South Africa in the education sector.
Android wins the game – 2.8 million units shipped up 16 percent compared to the same quarter in 2012. iOS fell and Windows OS lost share in Q4 2013.
Top vendor was Samsung, followed by Apple, Lenovo, Asus and Huawei.
The PC market will fall further in 2014, while tablets will grow significantly, IDC said.
Gartner issued a report that said the market fell in western Europe by four percent in the last quarter of 2013.
And it’s all PC segments. Mobile and desktop PC shipments fell by 6.5 percent and 0.3 percent respectively. Sales to enterprises fell by 1.7 percent while sales of PCs to individual people fell by seven percent.
However, it’s not all bad news. Gartner said that large corporations are switching away from Windows XP – support from Microsoft ceases in April.
HP is the number one player, followed by Lenovo, Acer, Asus, and Apple. The total number of PCs shipped in Q4 2013 amounted to 14,671,825.
PC shipments in the UK amounted to 2.9 million units in the quarter, down 6.7 percent compared to the same quarter in 2012.
Mobile shipments fell 10 percent.
HP, Lenovo, Dell, Toshiba and Apple were the top five vendors in the UK for the quarter.
“We were optimistic about the company’s tablet shipments this year and didn’t expect that our clients’ products would face pricing competition from Chinese white-brands,” Quanta vice chairman C.C. Leung said in a conference call, reports Taipei Times.
In other words, it wasn’t exactly Quanta’s fault, it was their clients’ fault. Amazon and Google account for the majority of Quanta’s tablet orders and they obviously underestimated the impact of cheap white-box tablets on Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire sales.
However, Quanta still believes it will be able to ship 20 million tablets – next year, of course.
Luckily Quanta did not see a dip in laptop shipments and its annual forecast of 44 million units still stands. In addition, Quanta is hoping to see plenty of growth in server shipments next year thanks to growing demand for could servers.
Now that even grocers are targeting the 7-inch tablet segment, the dog eat dog of cheap tablets is getting even more brutal. Chinese white-box players are further cutting their prices, according to channel sources cited by Digitimes.
A quick glance at tablet prices in the UK and the continent reveals that there are already heaps of tablets priced at £99 or less, with some truly cheap models going for as little as £49.
What’s more, some big vendors like Asus, Acer and Lenovo also have products at or close to the £99 mark and let’s not forget Tesco’s impressive Hudl, which is priced at £119 yet it features a much better screen than similarly priced tablets.
Google and Amazon had a thing or two to do with this trend. The Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 series of tablets reinvented the £199 space last year, so quite a few companies introduced similar products and similar price points. As a result, the white-box crowd has no choice but to run for the hills, or in this case for the bargain bin.
This doesn’t appear to bode well for big brands. It was recently reported that Google was forced to slash orders for the second generation Nexus 7 due to soft demand. People who want cheap tablets seem to be going after even cheaper models and the £/$199 price point is now practically reserved for high-end 7-inch tablets.
In addition, the market share of small white-box outfits is going up, from 26 percent in Q2 2012 to 39 percent in Q2 2013. The top five brands are losing share, but if the prices of entry level Asus, Acer and Lenovo tablets are anything to go by – they are not far behind in the race to the bottom.
Notebook shipments appear to be recovering, albeit slightly, after several consecutive quarters of unparalleled awfulness. We are quite used to hideous numbers by now, but Digitimes Research is reporting that notebook shipments of the top five brands grew by 22 percent, while the top three ODMs saw 11 percent of growth in August, compared to July.
HP saw the most growth, up 50 percent, while Lenovo and Acer saw their shipments grow by 25 and 20 percent respectively. Asus shipments dropped, while Dell’s appear to be stagnating.
Wistron outperformed other ODMs with 20 percent on-month growth in August, thanks to strong shipments from HP and Lenovo. Quanta and Inventec grew by more than 10 percent, Compal was saw some single-digit growth, while Pegatron’s shipments dropped due to lower orders from Asus.
A word of caution is advised. The upsurge has a lot more to do with seasonal trends than actual end-user demand. The notebook market still remains very weak and soft demand is expected over the next few quarters, if not years.
Acer has shot down rumours of a possible merger with Asus or Lenovo. The rumours originated in some Asian outlets, which claimed that certain investment banks planned to invite Lenovo or Asus to merge with Acer.
Acer said it was not contacted by any investment bank with such a proposal and that wouldn’t be interested anyway, reports Digitimes. It’s easy to see why such a rumour would take off. Acer is in trouble like most PC vendors, except Lenovo. Consolidation might be the next step for some vendors, but Acer insists it will soldier on alone.
The company says it reforming and that it’s confident its brand and business can weather the storm. However, recent sales figures indicate that both Acer and Asus suffered the biggest drop in PC sales this year compared to other PC outfits.
Acer is down, but it’s not out. It still builds some interesting PCs and its aggressively pursuing tablet and smartphone markets, although they are already saturated and as a result it is bound to face stiff competition in all emerging segments.
Google’s Nexus 7 has gone on sale in Britain. Prices start at £199 for the 16GB version, while the 32GB one costs £239. In addition to Google’s Play Store, it is also available at Currys, Tesco, Argos, Amazon and John Lewis.
It is competitively priced. Although it’s based on a Qualcomm chip which is also used in the Nexus 4, the Nexus 7 features a 1920×1200 screen and as it is a Nexus device, software support is second to none. In many respects, it renders other cheap 7-inch tablets rather pointless, which is hardly great news for Google hardware partners. The Nexus 7 is now available in France, Germany and Spain, too. However, smaller markets will have to wait.
The Nexus 4 has been around for a while, but it is still a very competitive product. It might not have a 1080p screen or the latest greatest processor, but it’s a great workhorse and its build quality is still superior to any Samsung phone out there. Now it’s an even better deal, as Google slashed the price for the 8GB model to just £159, while the 16GB version now costs £239. If LTE isn’t a must have, the Nexus 4 is truly a steal for anyone who does not want to get bogged down in a two-year carrier deal.
Google is also expected to roll out a new Nexus 10 later this year and rumours of a Nexus 5 superphone are rampant. Let’s not forget the Moto X, either, although it is limited to the US market.
It’s all good news for Android fans and Google, but Google hardware partners are probably not amused. With such low prices, Nexus products are disruptive and they are hard to keep up with. They always get the latest updates and on the hardware front they offer great value, although they don’t tend feature the latest tech out there.
The only good bit news for other Android peddlers is that Google doesn’t appear to be trying too hard. Geeks love Nexus gear, but average people have no idea that it exists at all. Google is simply not marketing Nexus products properly, but this might be about to change. Googlerola recently announced that it would spend a few hundred million dollars on Moto X marketing and if Google starts marketing Nexus products just as aggressively, well then, anything could happen.