The stats are in – tablet shipment dropped 12 percent to 67 million units in Q4, according to Canalys. The desktop market fell back into a decline in Q4 as Windows XP upgrades waned. The notebook market held firm with another quarter of just one percent growth.
Total PC shipments (desktops, notebooks and tablets) fell six percent in Q4 to reach 148 million units, resulting in full-year 2014 shipments of 528 million units, up three percent 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 six percent year on year to almost 20 million units as it increased its market share to 13.3 percent. Samsung dropped out of the top three to make way for HP, with growth of 17 percent driving shipments over 17 million units, its best quarter since Q3 2011.
Market leader Apple’s year-on-year tablet shipment declined once again (down by 18 percent) – 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 percent to 11 million units.
“Despite a strong sequential uplift in tablet shipments, the total market contracted for the first time in Q4, as expected,” said Tim Coulling, Senior Analyst of Canalys.
“It was always going to be tough for Apple to repeat its stellar performance of Q4 2013, when it introduced the iPad Air. With an iterative product refresh this year, the drive to upgrade iPads was muted. But Apple accounted for over 30 percent of the market in Q4 and the strength of its ecosystem is helping it weather the storm in an increasingly competitive market,” he added.
Samsung’s tablets have struggled with inventory issues in 2014, which led to a modest 12 percent sequential increase in shipments. “It will need to streamline its portfolio and improve channel management if it is to hold onto its share in 2015,” said Couling.
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 four million units giving it a six-percent share. Lenovo had its best ever quarter, shipping 3.7 million units for a 5.5-percent market share. Other notable highlights included Microsoft hitting just over two million shipments, and HP crossing the million unit threshold in tablets.