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."
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.
The broad popularity of the iPad Mini aside, Android is expected to supplant Apple's iOS as the most popular tablet platform this year, research firm IDC says. Apple's insistence on keeping its tablet more expensive than the typical $200 price for Android's 7-inch tablets has cost the iPad-maker, IDC analysts say. IDC raised its estimate for 2013 tablet shipments by 11% largely because of sales of the smaller-screen devices.