US Demand Fuels Tablet Growth in Q3

Worldwide tablet shipments were up 11.5% YoY in Q3’14, reaching 53.8 million units. IDC says that shipments were also up 11.2% QoQ, driven by back-to-school promotions and connected tablet demand in the USA – one of the world’s largest tablet markets.

Speaking about the US market’s Q3 performance, IDC’s Jean Phillipe Bouchard said, “We saw Verizon continuing to sell connected tablets at a fast pace, a strategy that we believe other carriers will replicate in following quarters. We also saw RCA enter the top five, impacting the entire US market and worldwide ranking with one large deal linked to back-to-school and channel fill ahead of Black Friday. Those two elements resulted in the US tablet market growing at 18.5% year-over-year”.

While volume was driven by low-cost vendors, the top five vendors represented the majority of revenue in the quarter. “A sub-$100 tablet simply isn’t sustainable – Apple knows this – and it’s likely the reason they aren’t concerned with market share erosion”, said senior research analyst Jitesh Ubrani.

Apple was the world’s top vendor again, shipping 12.3 million tablets. During a recent earnings call, Apple noted that the iPad’s lifecycle is extending. Combined with consumer anticipation for new models and the release of the latest iPhones, IDC’s data showed a fall in overall iPad shipments in the quarter; the firm expects 2014 to be ‘the year of the iPhone’.

Samsung was the second-largest vendor, with 9.9 million tablets shipped and an 18.3% market share; a slight fall from last year’s 19.3%. However, the company still experienced 5.6% shipment growth. Samsung has begun to focus on markets such as North America and MEA, where low-cost Asian vendors have not yet gained a foothold.

Third place went to Asus, which overtook Lenovo with 3.5 million shipments versus 3 million. Much of Asus’ gain was fuelled by Windows convertibles. Lenovo’s strength, on the other hand, came from emerging markets; the company exceed 30% growth, and market share was up by almost one percentage point.

A surprise entry to the top five was RCA, which shipped 2.6 million tablets – primarily to a single market, the USA. The company signed distribution details with some of the world’s largest retailers. Its tablets were mostly low-cost models, which were popular during the back-to-school season and are predicted to be in demand during Black Friday and the Christmas shopping period.