Shipments dropped from 59m units in the first quarter of 2013 to 56.3m units in the first quarter of this year, according to research firm NPD.
“The wider trend is that clearly sales are not rising at anything like the rates predicted a year ago, the main issue is that the must-have device is the smartphone and that’s what everybody wants,” Enders Analysis analyst Ian Maude told City A.M.
Apple last month reported it had shipped just 16.3m iPads during the first three months of this year, compared to 19.4m it shipped one year ago. Samsung, according to NPD, is thought to have seen a small increase of around 200,000 units to 9.9m in the quarter.
Despite the slowdown tablets still accounted for over half of all mobile PC shipments, which fell to 99m from 104.4m in the first quarter of 2013.
“The question is what kind of trajectory does this market have? Is it more of a PC market – with a long and slow build up and ramp up over time – or is it more of a netbook market which peaked and then declined. What we’re seeing is a slowing down and a plateauing, so it looks likely that it’ll probably be somewhere between the two,” said IHS analyst Rhoda Alexander.