Framingham, Mass. - Tablet PC and e-reader sales unexpectedly fell during the first quarter, according to IDC.
During the quarter, Barnes & Noble become the top e-reader vendor, edging out Amazon's Kindle, while the Apple iPad continued its dominance of the tablet market.
The research firm reported tablet PC sales fell 28 percent, compared with the prior quarter. However, IDC remains optimistic on the category and hiked its 2011 shipment forecast to 53.5 million units, up from 50.4 million.
IDC believes the increase will take place on the backs of new tablet products that will begin shipping during the remainder of the year.
"Like the PC market, media tablets had a bit of a challenging quarter in Q1, as concerns about general macroeconomic issues and the post-holiday letdown took a toll on demand," said Bob O'Donnell, IDC clients and displays VP.
Since tablets have not been shipping for a full year, only sequential comparisons are possible, IDC said.
The e-reader market saw shipments fall to 3.3 million, from 6.5 million. Again, IDC sees the first quarter as an aberration, with e-reader sales picking up during the remainder of the year. A total of 16.2 million e-readers are expected to ship during 2011, a 24 percent increase.
IDC analysts blamed the shipment drops on a normal first-quarter seasonality, slow economic conditions and supply constraints.
Apple's iPad remained the top selling media tablet, although it also saw sales tail off during the first quarter. IDC did not release the exact decrease, but it blamed supply-chain issues tied to the fact that early word of the iPad 2's release convinced some consumers to delay purchases.
Samsung, Motorola and vendors that focus sales efforts through carriers has their sales stunted due to consumer's unwillingness to sign up for data plans that are required with the purchase.
"We expect the rest of the year to be much stronger, but we believe vendors who continue to focus on the telco channel for distribution will face serious challenges," said O'Donnell.
There were some positive points for these vendors. Android OS-based tablets increased their share to 34 percent, up 8.2 percent for the quarter.
In the e-reader category, Barnes & Noble's Nook line beat out Amazon's Kindle for the first time, IDC reported. IDC credited BN's Color Nook for the move, stating Amazon's lack of a color display offering is hindering its growth.