It’s been clear for a while that iPads and other tablets follow a much longer upgrade cycle than smartphones. A new report from IDC backs up this anecdotal trend with sales estimates. According to the report, the worldwide tablet market will only grow 7.2 percent this year, a huge drop from the 52.5 percent growth it saw in 2013.
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The weak global tablet market is even affecting Apple, whose iPad accounts for nearly 28 percent of the market. According to the report, Apple’s year-over-year iPad shipments will decline, which means it made and sold more iPads in 2013 than it will in 2014 — even though the company will ship nearly 65 million iPads in 2014. That lines up with Apple’s own iPad sales figures, which have indicated for the past few quarters that the company has been selling fewer iPads this year than in 2013.
Android, mirroring its success on smartphones, is still the dominant tablet operating system, accounting for 68 percent of the market — 16 percent higher than last year. It can be expected to extend that lead: As mature markets like the United States hold on to their tablets for longer, developing markets are becoming the main driver of sales growth, and a large proportion of those sales will probably go to low-cost Android tablets.
Another key takeaway: Hybrid devices, or “2-in-1 detachables,” are not a major category. Those type of devices — many of which run Windows 8 — only comprise about four percent of the total tablet and hybrid markets combined. Windows as a touch platform is having trouble gaining traction, accounting for only 4.6 percent of the tablet market, although that’s a 67 percent jump from last year.