During April, the worldwide tablet market shrank for the first time since the release of the iPad in 2010, according to a leading display market analyst.
According to the latest NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Worldwide FPD Shipment and Forecast Report, worldwide sales of tablet devices during April fell to 24.2 million units, down from 25.3 million a year earlier.
While the tablet market continues to be significantly larger than it was before the iPad’s release – with 342 million units expected to be shipped in 2014 compared to just 80 million in 2011 – that growth rate is slowing significantly.
In a statement, DisplaySearch Greater China market vice president David Hsieh warns “no party can go on forever”.
“Even Chinese white box makers are struggling, as the low cost/price model has been impacted. The benchmarks – Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab – did not meet expectations in Q1’14 either.”
Key factors in the decline include growing competition from large-screen smartphones and phablets, a slowdown in consumers upgrading, touch screens being added to notebook PCs and an oversupply of tablets from low-end brands.
The report comes after Apple shocked investors during April by reporting a surprise 16% year-on-year drop in iPad unit shipments.