Tablet Shipments Fall 12% in 2015

Global tablet shipments fell 12.2% year over year in 2015 to 168.5 million units. That marks the first time that year-over-year shipments have declined at a double-digit pace.

The data were reported Wednesday by research firm TrendForce. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) continued to lead all makers with a 2015 market share of 29.4%, although that was down from the company’s 34.0% share in 2014. Rounding out the top five are Samsung Electronics (19.9% share), Lenovo (5.8%), Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) (3.3%) and Asus (3.2%).

Amazon and Lenovo both grew share in 2015, but the largest growth came from the “other” category, where share grew from 33.9% in 2014 to 38.5% in 2015. TrendForce estimates less than a point of growth in 2016 for Samsung, Amazon and Asus, and a share drop of 4.4 points for Apple and 0.1 point for Lenovo. The “other” category is expected to take 42.5% share in 2016.

TrendForce analyst Anita Wang said:

The saturation of the tablet market, the long life cycles of tablets themselves and the abundance of substitute devices were major factors that contributed to the large shipment decline. Tablets were challenged by many large and small devices during 2015, from smartphones sized 5 inches and above to 2-in-1 PCs. Their demand diminished as a result.

Wang also noted that Apple’s lead in tablet shipments meant that the brand got hit the hardest by the impacts of the slowing global economy and the weak tablet demand. The increasing competition from rival brands also made it very difficult for Apple to hold on to its market share.

TrendForce also reported that Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) enjoyed “brisk sales” for its Surface device, enabling the company to grow its market share by almost 50% year over year. TrendForce does not include two-in-one devices like the Surface in the tablet category.