Enterprise purchases of tablets to accelerate this year, predicts IDC

Samsung gains market share on Apple despite strong quarter for Cupertino

Enterprise purchases of tablets are forecast by IDC to accelerate in mature markets in 2014 and beyond, while consumer purchases are expected to slow due to market saturation and greater competition for the consumer dollar.

In 2013, 217.1 million tablets were shipped, up 50.6 percent from 2012, according to IDC stats. In the fourth quarter of 2013, 76.9 million units were shipped, up 62.4 percent from the previous quarter and 28.2 percent over the year ago quarter.

"It's becoming increasingly clear that markets such as the U.S. are reaching high levels of consumer saturation and while emerging markets continue to show strong growth this has not been enough to sustain the dramatic worldwide growth rates of years past," says Tom Mainelli, research director for tablets at IDC.

Apple had its most successful quarter to date, shipping 26 million tablets in the fourth quarter, up 13.5 percent from the year ago quarter, according to IDC. Yet, Apple still lost market share to Samsung, which shipped 14.5 million tablets in the quarter, up 85.9 percent from the year ago quarter. By contrast, third place Amazon saw its tablet shipments sink by 1.7 percent, down to 5.8 million units in the fourth quarter.

At the end of the year, Apple held 33.8 percent of the tablet market, Samsung, 18.8 percent, and Amazon, 7.6 percent. Asus followed in fourth place with a 5.1 percent market share, and surging Lenovo, which saw a 325 percent year-over-year increase in tablet shipments, was in fifth with a 4.4 percent market share.

"Lenovo's access to the Chinese whitebox manufacturing infrastructure has helped it drive more low-priced tablet products into the market, growing its share from just 1.3 percent in the same quarter last year. The company's strength in emerging markets, and its increased market share in adjoining markets such as PCs and smartphones, makes it well positioned to see additional tablet gains in 2014," says Jitesh Ubrani, research analyst for IDC's worldwide quarterly tablet tracker.

For more:
- see IDC's release

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