Tablet sales continued to decline in the first quarter, states an IDC report, which found that shipments -- including 2-in-1 devices -- slid by 5.9% in Q1 from the same period a year ago. Apple's iPad continued to lead the tablet market, with a 26.8% share. Mobile analytics firm Flurry suggests the surge in large-screen smartphones -- the so-called "phablets" -- is eating into tablet sales.
Expect a surge in the wearables market, IDC says in forecasting shipments of 19 million this year and of about 112 million in 2018, IDC says. "To succeed, smart wearable vendors must convince users to shift to a new user experience while offering them a robust selection of third-party applications," IDC said. "It is not a question of if, but when wearables as a whole will extend into the enterprise."
PC shipments will drop by 6.1% this year, IDC predicts, and it foresees little to no growth for shipments over the next four years. Shipments were down 9.8% last year. "Emerging markets used to be a core driver of the PC market, as rising penetration among large populations boosted overall growth. At the moment, however, we're seeing emerging regions more affected by a weak economic environment as well as significant shifts in technology buying priorities," IDC's Loren Loverde said.
More than 200 million smartphones are in use in North America, and IDC predicts market saturation will slow sales growth over the next several years. Android is expected to continue to dominate the market, accounting for three-quarters of all phones sold through 2018, when IDC forecasts that annual shipment growth will be 6.2%, compared with 19.3% predicted for this year. IDC also predicts that Windows Phone will have market share of 7% in 2018, compared with 3.9% this year.
Tablet shipments are projected at 84.1 million in the fourth quarter, while PC sales of 83.1 million are expected, according to IDC, which says total sales will get a boost from the introduction of less-expensive tablets. Smartphones and tablets retailing for less than $350 will soon account for more than two-thirds of mobile-device sales, IDC predicts.