Tablet shipments jumped 50 percent in 2013

Tablet shipments jumped 50 percent in 2013

According to IDC's latest Worldwide Quarterly tablet Tracker report, shipments jumped by 50.6 percent over last year -- in 2012 a mere 144.2 million of the devices were shipped, but there are signs that things might be starting to slow down.

"It's becoming increasingly clear that markets such as the US are reaching high levels of consumer saturation and while emerging markets continue to show strong growth this has not been enough to sustain the dramatic worldwide growth rates of years past," said Tom Mainelli, Research Director, Tablets, at IDC. "We expect commercial purchases of tablets to continue to accelerate in mature markets, but softness in the consumer segment -- brought about by high penetration rates and increased competition for the consumer dollar -- point to a more challenging environment for tablets in 2014 and beyond."

Indeed, earlier this week, figures published by the International Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) show that 44 percent of US consumers already own a tablet and that three in four consumers have identified a slate as an upcoming tech purchase.

Still, despite a perceived falling future demand, Apple once again set records with its sector-defining iPad. It shipped a record 26 million tablets over the past three months, and currently holds a 33.8 percent share of the global tablet market. That's remarkable considering the company only offers four devices in total.

Samsung is currently in second place with a 13 percent market share and 14.5 million devices shipped. This equates to an 85 percent year-on-year growth and has no doubt been helped by the company's decision to launch tablets at every size and price point possible.

The third most popular tablet is Amazon's Kindle HD range. IDC estimates that 5.8 million of the devices shipped over the last three months.

But the device maker making the biggest strides is Lenovo. It may have only shipped 3.4 million devices over the past quarter, putting it in fifth place behind Asus (maker of the Nexus 7) but its performance represents a 325 percent year on year growth rate.

"Lenovo's access to the Chinese whitebox manufacturing infrastructure has helped it drive more low-priced tablet products into the market, growing its share from just 1.3% in the same quarter last year," said Jitesh Ubrani, Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. "The company's strength in emerging markets, and its increased market share in adjoining markets such as PCs and smartphones, makes it well positioned to see additional tablet gains in 2014."