New IDC report indicates worldwide tablet growth in 2014 was remarkably slow as iPad sees first year of decline

image IDC 2014 tablet market

The iPad may have changed the way the world views tablets, but everything has to come to an end eventually. In a new report, it looks like the worldwide adoption rate of tablets is coming to a crawl.

According to a new report published by the market research company IDC, which published a press release on Tuesday, November 25 announcing its findings, worldwide tablet growth is expected to be just over 7 percent in 2014. Compare that to the year-over-year growth in 2013 from 2012, which saw a tablet growth of 52.5%, and one can see why it is expected that even Apple’s iPad will see the first year decline.

The report notes that while the slow down is actually expected, it’s certainly still a sharp decline from one year to the next. However, to make sense of the drop, the IDC suggests that tablets simply have a longer upgrade path than, say, smartphones, and as customers hang onto their devices for a longer period of time, the overall adoption rate slowing was practically inevitable. While the IDC suggests that tablets were originally expected to get replaced every two to three years, it looks like many consumers across the globe are hanging onto their devices even longer than that.

The tablet market continues to be impacted by a few major trends happening in relevant markets,” said Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers. “In the early stages of the tablet market, device lifecycles were expected to resemble those of smartphones, with replacement occurring every 2-3 years. What has played out instead is that many tablet owners are holding onto their devices for more than 3 years and in some instances more than 4 years. We believe the two major drivers for longer than expected tablet lifecycles are legacy software support for older products, especially within iOS, and the increased use of smartphones for a variety of computing tasks.

The IDC expects that things could change in the near future, though, as companies continue to focus on the tablet market for new devices. Specifically, the IDC singles out Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 10, Google’s Android and Chrome OS platforms, and even suggests Apple’s oft-rumored iPad Pro.

[via BusinessWire]