As seen in reports last week, the tablet market rose nearly 30% year-over-year during 2013's holiday season. This growth was expected and welcome for the burgeoning segment, but now some market watchers are bracing for a slowdown in tablet market growth.
Market research firm ABI research today provided its own fourth quarter 2013 estimates, showing that 76.9 million tablets shipped during the quarter. This accounts for a 62.4% growth over estimated third quarter 2013 tablet shipments, but only a 28.2% increase over the holiday quarter 2012.
As ABI points out, this 28% growth rate is significantly less than the 87.1% year-over-year seen during the fourth quarter of 2012. The number of tablets shipped in 2013 reached an estimated 217.1 million, a 50.6% increase from 2012. According to ABI these number indicate a slowing growth trend for the tablet market, as seen in the recent CEA estimate that almost half of online Americans now own tablets.
"It's becoming increasingly clear that markets such as the U.S. are reaching high levels of consumer saturation and while emerging markets continue to show strong growth this has not been enough to sustain the dramatic worldwide growth rates of years past," said Tom Mainelli, research director for tablets at IDC. "We expect commercial purchases of tablets to continue to accelerate in mature markets, but softness in the consumer segment - brought about by high penetration rates and increased competition for the consumer dollar - point to a more challenging environment for tablets in 2014 and beyond."
ABI's numbers put Apple once again at the head of the tablet market, with a 33.8% share of tablet shipments during the fourth quarter 2013. Samsung (18.8%) and Amazon (7.6%) follow far behind, with Chinese brands quickly catching up. Lenovo in particular increased its 2013 tablet shipments by 325%, up to 3.4 million tablets shipped.
Image via Samsung