Monday, 12 May 2014 13:03

Tablets down - PCs have life yet Featured

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Two perfect storm factors arose in the first quarter of 2014. Tablet growth slowed accounting for just 21% of sales, and Windows XP migration helped slow the desktop and notebook decline.

Lets get terminology correct. Tablets are iPads, Android, and Windows RT. Tablets using full fat Windows 8.x are lumped into notebook and desktop figures.

Growth in tablet shipments slowed to 21%, yet at 50.8 million units, they continue to out-ship notebooks. Tablets accounted for 41% of the market, notebooks 38%. The worldwide decline in notebooks slowed to 7%.

iTWire reported that iPad sales were slipping due to a maturing tablet market, longer replacement cycles, channel stuffing (pushing stock from its warehouse into stores and classing it as ‘sold’) and incredibly strong completion from Samsung.

According to independent research firm Canalys, Apple remained the single largest ‘vendor’ shipping just over 20 million devices (including both iOS tablets – 16.4 million - and Mac OS X devices – 3.8 million).

Interestingly Lenovo and HP, second and third respectively, shipped predominately Windows 8.X devices and had sales of 15 and 12.9 million units respectively – well over Apples total.

“The fall in iPad shipments in Q1 was the sharpest ever,” said Canalys Senior Analyst Tim Coulling. “Apple took action during the quarter to run down its iPad inventory, a smart move as tablet stock in the channel rose due to strong seasonal shipments in the previous quarter. Longer term, we do not believe Apple’s Q1 performance points to a decline in the tablet category, despite growing pressure from larger-screen smart phones,” he said.

Lenovo was again the star performer increasing market share by 2% - it is now placed first, second and third in the notebook, desktop and tablet markets respectively. “Unlike Apple, with its ‘one size fits all’ tablet strategy, Lenovo and others are free to tailor tablets to specific market segments. The tablet form factor is well liked by both young and old consumers,” Coulling said.

HP has recovered, due in part to its considerable work on its industrial design and focus on enterprise. “With fewer than 400,000 tablets shipped in the quarter, HP still has much work to do,” said Canalys VP and Principal Analyst Chris Jones. “But it is now delivering on a tablet strategy that emphasizes strong differentiation based on connectivity. HP’s tablets now come with bundled mobile data in a growing number of markets. While other vendors have flirted with this idea, HP’s proposition adds significant value to end users, and will appeal not just to individuals but SMBs as well. The vendor has set itself apart from the low-cost tablet battlefield where many are struggling to compete.” He said.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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