New estimates from ABI Research show that 41.3 million branded tablets were shipped worldwide in the first calendar quarter of 2014. Apple and Samsung accounted for 71% of the total, putting them well ahead of their competitors.
The gap between Apple and Samsung shrunk, with Apple shipping 16.4 million devices in Q1 (down 10.1% year-on-year) and Samsung increasing its global shipments to 13 million (up 10.8%). Asus was in third place, with shipments of the Google Nexus 7 accounting for much of its 2.1 million tablet total (down 0.8%).
22% of all tablets shipped with an embedded 3G or 4G modem, which is the highest proportion since the end of 2011.
Android was the most popular mobile OS for tablet shipments (56.3% for Q1 2014) followed by Apple iOS at 39.6% and Windows 8/Windows RT at 4.1%. Some vendors haven’t yet reported Q1 figures, so ABI Research says these totals could be +/-3%.
It also noted that the first quarter of the year is a seasonal low point for tablet sales, as it is for other computing and consumer electronics products.
Jeff Orr, senior practice director at ABI Research, said “Despite questions remaining about data disclosure in 2010 and 2011, Samsung’s release of tablet sales data this past quarter is a good sign for the mobile computing market. Whether due to its confidence in the economy, its own business, or a combination of reasons, Samsung continues to demonstrate tablet growth as its 2013 retail push in North America and Western Europe pays off.”