Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned this during the quarterly earnings call earlier this week that Apple sold 12.6 million iPads, down from 16.4 million from the same quarter last year, despite record sales in Japan and China.
For other players, the news was grim. Samsung and Asus both suffered falling sales in the tablet market. Apple still has the largest share of the market, but the margin between them and Samsung has closed.
Many tablet makers are feeling the effects of a prolonged slowdown in the tablet market. The iPad has seen declining sales for five consecutive quarters with competing tablets experiencing similar trends.
It’s possible that makers misunderstood the customer life cycle with tablets. While mobile phones are typically on two-year plans, tablets are outright purchases. For businesses, this means they may keep a tablet in service for three years. In some cases, given the tough economic environment, many may even try to keep those assets in play for longer.
Recreational users who mainly use the tablets for social media, web browsing and email may be happy to keep their device for several years as browser performance, rather than new features, is what they mainly use.
With the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus offering larger displays than previous models, it’s possible that those devices have cannibalised the iPad market – especially as there haven’t been major updates to the iPad line-up since 2013.