Tablet Growth Declines For the First Time
Shipments down 3.2 percent—first negative growth in market’s history.
Despite investment, innovation and the hopes of many publishers, magazines have struggled to find audiences on tablets. Fewer than 4 percent of readers access digital replica editions, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.
But a challenging market for the hardware itself could make tablet audience development even harder.
Tablet shipments declined 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter, according to data collected by the International Data Corporation (IDC)—the first year-over-year decline since the market was established in 2010.
While full-year shipments still trended upward (4.4 percent), major players like Apple and Amazon have struggled, each seeing shipments decline and market share erode in 2014. Larger phones, smaller laptops and new models that offer few significant upgrades over predecessors have contributed to the decline.
IDC analysts think it’s reasonable to expect a rebound next year though.
"Despite an apparent slow-down of the market, we maintain our forecast about tablet growth in 2015," says Jean Philippe Bouchard, IDC’s director of tablet research, in a statement. "Microsoft's new OS, a general shift towards larger screen form factor and productivity focused solutions, and technology innovations such as gesture interface that could be introduced in tablets will help the market maintain positive growth in 2015."