The tablet bubble may have finally burst. An online research firm says that worldwide shipments of tablets dropped 12% year on year to a total of 67 million during the fourth quarter of 2014. The desktop markets dropped as well during the fourth quarter as the upgrades for Windows XP waned. Notebooks grew by only 1%.
Total shipments of PCs fell by 6% during the fourth quarter, ending at 148 million units ending the year at 528 million, which was up 3% from 2013.
The top spot in the PC market was regained by Apple on its holiday sales with 27 million units. Shipments of Lenovo were up 6% from last year to nearly 20 million units and its market share increased to 13.3%.
Samsung dropped from the top 3 making way for Hewlett-Packard, with 17% growth pushing total shipments to more than 17 million units, which was its best quarter since the third quarter of 2011.
Apple, tablet shipments between 2013 and 2014 declined 18% for the fourth consecutive quarter. Samsung recorded an annual drop for the first time declining by 24% to only 11 million units.
Despite some uplift in shipments of tablets the entire market shrank for just the first time as was expected, said an industry analyst.
Apple accounted for more than 30% of the fourth quarter market. Samsung tablets struggled with issues of inventory in 2014, which in turn led to an increase of just 12% in shipments.
Amazon regained third place in tablet sales with 4 million units shipped and Lenovo shipped 3.7 million for a market share of 5.5%. Microsoft only had 2 million shipments, while HP crossed the threshold of one million in tablets.
In addition to the tablet market slowing down at the top tier, the low end, which has primarily Android devices that are 7 inches, also suffered substantial declines.
In the fourth quarter of 2014, 7-inch tablets consisted of 50% of all the shipments of Android tablets, a segment in steady decline from a first quarter high of 66%.