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NPD: 1st Time Tablet PC Quarterly Shipments Fall

Santa Clara, Calif. — The NPD DisplaySearch “Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report” shows tablet PC shipments, at 56 million units, declined year over year for the first time in the first quarter.

However, shipments of notebook PCs in the first quarter of 2014 were better than expected due to the commercial PC-refresh cycle and Windows XP migration.

Many brands reported weak tablet-shipment results in Q1 due in part to new product launch delays. NPD DisplaySearch has lowered its forecast for tablet shipments in 2014 to 285 million units.

“Tablet PC demand in 2014 is being impacted by falling demand for 7-inch-class sizes in emerging regions and in China, where many local white-box brands have experienced lower-than-expected shipment growth,” said Hisakazu Torii, smart application research VP at NPD DisplaySearch. “Most major brands have recently reduced their business plans for 2014. There is a risk that the replacement cycle for tablet PCs will lengthen beyond the one to two-year range unless brands can develop more attractive usage scenarios.”

For the past several years, tablets and smartphones have been the primary growth driver in the smart-device category. In 2014, the year-over-year growth rate of tablets will fall to just 14 percent, and by 2017 will slow to single digits.