Things are looking grim for the tablet market

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The tablet market may be in even worse shape than we thought. When the dust has settled, 2014 is expected to be the first full year iPad shipments have declined each quarter. That’s according to a new report from research firm IDC. The drop in sales is part of a larger trend that IDC describes as a “massive deceleration” in the worldwide tablet market. The company predicts tablet sales worldwide will still have grown overall in 2014, but the annual rate of that growth has shrunk to 7.2%, compared with 52.5% in 2013.

2014 is on track to become the first year in which iPad sales decline when compared to the previous year. Despite the fact that Android tablets have gained a lot of traction recently, always eating away at Apple’s market share in the tablet space, this has never happened before – Apple was able to grow its tablet sales year-on-year, even if only slightly. But if a new report from market research firm IDC is to be believed, this year will be special for the iPad maker – and not in a good way. IDC projects iPad sales of 64.9 million for the whole year, which would represent a 12.7% decline compared to 2013. The entire tablet market won’t be doing as great as last year, though. Overall growth in tablet sales will be just 7.2% year-on-year, while it was 52.5% in 2013 compared to 2012. The reason for the slowdown of this space is that people replace their tablets much later than smartphones. The upgrade cycle for tablets is akin to that for computers. Originally the analysts expected people to replace tablets every 2-3 years, but it turns out that many consumers are holding on to old hardware for much longer than that.

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