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Report: Smaller Vendors Make Inroads as Tablet Market Grows

The global tablet market grew 11 percent in the second quarter of 2014 as compared to the same period last year, according to a new report from market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

That growth is a drop of 1.5 percent from the first quarter of 2014, but "IDC believes the market will experience positive but slower growth in 2014 compared to the previous year," according to a news release.

"As we indicated last quarter, the market is still being impacted by the rise of large-screen smartphones and longer than anticipated ownership cycles," said Jean Philippe Bouchard, IDC research director for tablets, in a prepared statement. "We can also attribute the market deceleration to slow commercial adoption of tablets. Despite this trend, we believe that stronger commercial demand for tablets in the second half of 2014 will help the market grow and that we will see more enterprise-specific offerings, as illustrated by the Apple and IBM partnership, come to market."

Apple continued to lead the market with 13.3 million shipments and a 26.9 percent share, though that lead has shrunk since the second quarter of 2013 when the company enjoyed a 33 percent share and sold 14.6 million units.

Samsung, in second place, also lost market share, dropping to 17.2 percent in the most recent quarter from 18.8 percent in the same period in 2013. The company did improve the real number of tablets sold, from 8.4 million devices in 2013's second quarter to 8.5 million in the second quarter of 2014.

Lenovo surpassed Asus to grab the number three spot, with 2.4 million shipments and a 4.9 percent market share. Those numbers are up from 1.5 million units and a 3.3 percent share during 2013's second quarter.

Though it moved from third to fourth place, Asus improved slightly in both number of devices sold and market share, improving from 2 million to 2.3 million shipments year over year and from 4.5 percent to 4.6 percent, respectively.

Acer rounds out the top five with 1 million units sold and a 2 percent share of the market. In the same period last year, the company commanded 3.4 percent of the tablet market on the strength of 1.5 million devices sold.

"Share outside the top 5 grew to an all-time high as more and more vendors have made inroads in the tablet space," according to a news release. "By now most traditional PC and phone vendors have at least one tablet model in the market, and strategies to move bundled devices and promotional offerings have slowly gained momentum."

Companies outside the top five sold 29.9 million units, representing 44.4 percent of the market. That's a 33.4 percent improvement over last year's second quarter, when vendors other than the top five captured 37 percent of the market with 16.4 million shipments.

"Until recently, Apple, and to a lesser extent Samsung, have been sitting at the top of the market, minimally impacted by the progress from competitors," said Jitesh Ubrani, research analyst, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, in a prepared statement. "Now we are seeing growth amongst the smaller vendors and a leveling of shares across more vendors as the market enters a new phase."

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