Boston – Combined shipments of Apple and Samsung tablets fell below 50 percent for the first time in the U.S. and globally in 2014, Strategy Analytics found.
“Apple has not brought enough innovation to the iPad to convince consumers to upgrade at a faster pace and has been content to cannibalize its iPad mini business via higher margin iPhone 6+ sales,” senior analyst Eric Smith told TWICE. Samsung “is being squeezed by low-priced white-box ODMs and other major players developing their Android tablet line-ups while Apple occupies the premium segment.”
In the U.S., the two suppliers’ combined tablet share fell to 49 percent in 2014 from the previous year’s 56 percent. Globally, combined share fell to 43 percent in 2014 from 51 percent.
Global tablet-shipment growth slowed to 6.6 percent in 2014 and will slow further in 2015 to 6 percent growth, the company said. U.S shipment growth slowed to 5 percent in 2014.
The top two vendors “cannot rely on inertia alone to hold market share while smaller players compete on price on the low end and innovative new form factors on the high end,” the research company said.
Winners include Lenovo and white-box vendors, the company said. Lenovo’s innovative form factors boosted that company’s share by 1.1 percentage points in 2014 to 5 percent. White-box vendors built their share to 29 percent in 2014 from 24 percent “via entry-level and ultra-low priced tablets in emerging markets and as holiday promotions in developed markets,” Strategy Analytics said.
Apple “will remain the top tablet vendor for the foreseeable future, but growth will be muted as consumers take longer to replace these premium-tier tablets,” the research company added.
Service director Peter King pointed to ways for Samsung and Apple to boost their share in a slow-growth market. "To help reverse the recent downward trend, Samsung needs to strengthen its position in the enterprise and vertical markets, where considerable growth will be seen in the coming years, while new products such as the iPad 12.9-inch Pro version cannot come quickly enough for Apple as it needs to re-ignite growth and demand in its tablet products."
Apple, however, has also targeted the enterprise with its recent partnership with IBM.
Smith noted that as the tablet market matures, “it is also fragmenting further on price tiers and use cases.” Suppliers producing Windows OS tablets “may have an opening to more aggressively target the enterprise with the launch of Windows 10 later this year as CIOs value the control and familiarity that Windows could bring to a landscape largely ruled by the bring-your-own-device trend.”