Apple losing tablet share to Lenovo, ‘white box’ vendors

Apple (AAPL) and Samsung no longer control the majority of the tablet market. The top two tablet makers accounted for 43% of tablet shipments last year, down from 50.9% in 2013, Strategy Analytics reported Wednesday.

Both companies lost share in 2014 to Lenovo and generic “white box” tablet vendors, the research firm said.

Apple led the tablet market with 26.1% market share last year, down from 32.6% in 2013. Samsung was second with 17.1%, down from 18.3% the prior year. Apple’s iPad shipments fell 15% year over year to 63.4 million units, while Samsung’s tablet shipments dropped 1% to 41.4 million units.

Overall, tablet shipments rose 7% to 242.5 million units last year, Strategy Analytics said. The growth was driven by lesser-known brands outside of the top five and “white box” tablets that are branded by other companies. White box vendors grabbed considerable market share last year with entry-level and ultra-low-priced tablets.

No. 3 tablet vendor Lenovo increased its shipments by 41% to 11.5 million units in 2014. It was the only top five tablet vendor to increase its shipments last year.

Asus was the fourth largest tablet vendor last year, but its shipments fell 9% to 11 million units.

In fifth place was (AMZN). Its Kindle Fire tablet shipments sank 22% to 7.5 million units.

Apple is likely to remain the top tablet vendor for the foreseeable future, but its growth will be muted as consumers take longer to replace those premium-tier tablets, Strategy Analytics said.

“New products such as the (rumored) iPad 12.9-inch Pro version cannot come quickly enough for Apple as it needs to re-ignite growth and demand in its tablet products,” analyst Peter King said in a statement.

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