Tablet shipments higher than ever, but will it last?

Tablet shipments have hit an all-time high. More tablets were shipped between January and March of this year than the entire first half of 2012. Sales grew a massive 142.4% when compared to the same period last year.

The figures were released only days after Blackberry’s chief executive said he didn’t think the tablet boom would last. Thorsten Heins said: “In five years I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet any more.

“Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model.”

Figures released by the IDC also found that Apple had the highest market share at 39.6%. Around 49 million tablets were shipped in the first 3 months of the year, and Apple’s iPad range accounted for 19.5 million of those devices.

However, the US firm no longer dominates the market place; they once had a 58% market share.

The IDC’s Tom Mainelli said: “Sustained demand for the iPad Mini and increasingly strong commercial shipments led to a better-than expected first quarter for Apple.

“In addition, by moving the iPad launch to the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple seems to have avoided the typical first-quarter slowdown that traditionally occurred when consumers held off buying in January and February in anticipation of a new product launch in March.”

Samsung have proved themselves as the second most popular retailer, with 8.8million tablets shipped and they currently have a 17.9% market shared.

Other analysts noted that many new tablets, especially 7 inch models were selling at almost cost price, meaning minimal profits despite the tablet boom.

Mr Heins said that Blackberry would not be releasing another tablet if it was not profitable. Blackberry’s Playbook was launched in 2011, but did not meet sales expectations. Instead the company will focus on its re-launched smartphone range. Mr Heins said: “I want to gain as much market share as I can, but not by being a copycat”.

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