Apple iPad Leads Shrinking Tablet Market With 27 Percent Global Share During Q1

It wasn't all that long ago when analysts were envisioning a world dominated by tablets and largely devoid of traditional PCs. In the immortal words of Alicia Silverstone from Clueless, "As if!" Now that the hype train is no longer racing down the track at breakneck speeds, we're starting to see what happens when you saturate the market -- a drop in shipments.

According to data compiled International Data Corporation, tablet shipments recorded an annual decline for the second consecutive quarter in the first quarter of 2015. Taking into account both tablets and 2-in-1 hybrid devices, shipments fell 5.9 percent year-over-year to 47.1 million units in Q1.

iPad Air 2

"Although the tablet market is in decline, 2-in-1's are certainly a bright spot," said Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. "While 2-in-1, or detachables, still account for a small portion of the overall market, growth in this space has been stunning as vendors like Asus, Acer, and E-FUN have been able to offer products at a fantastic value; and vendors like Microsoft have been able to drive growth at the high end with devices like the Surface Pro 3."

IDC Tablet Share
Source: IDC

As usual, Apple leads the way with its iPad devices, though it's suffered five consecutive quarters of annual shipment declines. Apple's share of the tablet market now stands at 26.8 percent after shipping 12.6 million iPads in the first quarter, down 22.9 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago. That's enough to maintain a lead over Samsung, though not by a landslide -- Apple's South Korean rival is sitting at 19.1 percent.

"Apple's iPads continue to suffer from the success of the new iPhone and to a lesser extent of the Mac product line. IDC expects Apple to record negative growth until the iPad portfolio is significantly refreshed, either with the expected increase in screen sizes or by introducing a dedicated version of iOS for its tablet lineup," IDC said.

Samsung also saw "significant" drop in shipments, though with Lenovo, Asus, and LG Electronics so far behind in market share, its No. 2 ranking probably won't be in jeopardy for a long time to come.