Apple Tablet Sales Decline 15% from 2013 to 2014 while Samsung Manages 7% Growth, Says ABI Research

Apple and Samsung managed to maintain control over the branded tablet market in 2014, although Apple carried the market as expected, according to new data from market intelligence firm ABI Research. Apple’s iPad experienced a decline of 15% in shipments between 2013 and 2014 but gained 9% market volume QoQ.

In contrast, Samsung managed 7% unit growth due to the success of the company’s new flagship Galaxy Tab S slates and Tab 4 series. ABI Research forecasts a CAGR in shipments of 10% from 2015 to 2020 in conjunction with a CAGR of 3% in revenue. Apple, Samsung, and Lenovo have become the big three for branded tablets, controlling 72% of the market during 2014; making them key leaders entering 2015.

The year 2015 will be interesting for mobile computing. Microsoft is introducing a new version of its OS, Windows 10, and companies are focusing more on growth in emerging markets. “Companies are seeking new avenues where they can continue to grow and there is still interest in markets that are less saturated,” says Research Analyst, Stephanie Van Vactor. “Unfortunately, declining revenues have hurt many companies that focus on lower-end tablets where profit margins are minimal and companies offer limited value-add services.”

The declining revenue of the tablet market is hurting the profit margins of many companies. Apple’s iPad experienced a decline in device revenue by 15% but was able to remain profitable through its ecosystem, App Store and successful launch of the new iPhone 6. “Ultimately, the big push for tablets to replace PCs was not as successful as many vendors initially perceived,” continues Van Vactor. “Phablets and other form-factors that are more functional are directly competing with these devices and stealing market share.” ABI Research forecasts conservative growth, but ultimately, tablets are losing their initial appeal and remaining a nice-to-have item.

These findings are part of ABI Research’s Media Tablets, Ultrabooks & eReaders Market Research (