IDC says worldwide tablet shipments fell 28% in Q1 but predicts 53.5m to go in 2011


IDC says worldwide tablet shipments fell 28% in Q1 but predicts 53.5m to go in 2011

Jenny Williams

Global shipments of tablet devices have fallen 28% to 7.2 million units in the first quarter of 2011, according to analyst IDC.

Despite the decline, IDC expects 53.5 million tablets to be shipped in 2011, compared to its previous prediction of 50.4 million units by the end of the year.

Jennifer Song, IDC research analyst, said Apple's iPad and iPad 2 have dominated the market, but overall tablet sales will be boosted by a flurry of new devices being released in the second half of the year.

"Although media tablet sales were not as high as expected in the first quarter of 2011, due to slower consumer demand, overall economic conditions and supply-chain constraints, we believe with the entrance of competitive new devices in the second half of 2011, the market will sell close to 53 million units for the year and continue to grow long-term," said Jennifer Song.

Devices running Google's Android operating system (OS) grew to 34% of the total tablet market, increasing market share by 8.2 points compared to the previous quarter. However, Song said manufacturers of Android tablets, such as Samsung and Motorola, have struggled to convince consumers to sign up to 3G and 4G data plans.

Song added that the e-reader market has suffered a similar sequential decline in shipments.

Bob O'Donnell, IDC vice-president of clients and displays, said: "Like the PC market, media tablets had a bit of a challenging quarter in Q1, as concerns about general macro-economic issues and the post-holiday let-down took a toll on demand."

The latest figures by Gartner show global PC shipments in 2011 will grow 9%, which is lower than previous predictions of 11% growth. As consumer spending continues to fall, Gartner says PC unit growth will be driven by business purchases.

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