Worldwide shipments of tablets dropped nearly 10% in the April-June quarter to 45.1 million units, according to market researcher IDC.
In the previous quarter, tablet vendors shipped 49.2 million units.
Without a new iPad tablet to energize its fan base and the overall tablet market, Apple took the biggest hit in the second quarter with shipments down by about five million units.
In previous years, Apple had launched a new tablet heading into the second quarter, resulting in strong quarter-over-quarter growth.
IDC’s Research Director for tablets Tom Mainelli said:
A new iPad launch always piques consumer interest in the tablet category and traditionally that has helped both Apple and its competitors. With no new iPads, the market slowed for many vendors, and that’s likely to continue into the third quarter. However, by the fourth quarter we expect new products from Apple, Amazon, and others to drive impressive growth in the market.
Although Apple is still the largest tablet vendors, its iOS mobile operating system for tablets (and smartphones) is dwarfed by Google’s Android software.
Android tablets now account for nearly 63% of the total tablet market compared to 32.5% for iOS (iPad) tablets.
Windows and Blackberry tablets continue to face an uphill battle.
The tablet market is trending toward maturity in major markets like the U.S., where a significant percentage of consumers already own tablets.
Upgrade cycles are also becoming similar to the PC market, with consumers increasingly putting off buying a new device.
For instance, my iPad 2 is over two-years old. Yet I’ve never felt the need to get a new iPad because my current device is good enough for most purposes.
Microsoft continues to remain an irrelevant player in the tablet market.
Microsoft’s Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets have been duds in the market, forcing the company to drop prices on both models.
To Microsoft’s embarrassment, the company failed to make it even to the Top-Five tablet vendors in the second quarter.
It’s unlikely Microsoft’s recent price cuts for both the Surface RT and Surface Pro will boost its share.