Canalys research suggests Apple and Samsung might face a tough time in the tablet market in the years to come.
Tablets will out sell all other PC form factors combined next year, with forecasts suggesting 285 million units will ship in 2014.
That’s according to analyst Canalys, who claim tablets will account for almost 50 per cent of the total client PC market next year, up from 40 per cent in Q3 2013.
The market watcher said it expects tablet shipments to keep growing well into 2017, when it predicts 396 million of the devices will be sold.
Android-powered devices are expected to account for 65 per cent of the devices shipped in 2014, it added.
Apple and Samsung will remain the vendors to beat in the tablet category for some time to come, said Canalys, but will face some stiff competition as its rivals continue to refine their offerings.
The iPad maker’s focus on maintaining its gross margins means its share of the overall PC market is likely to decline over time, explained Tim Coulling, senior analyst at Canalys.
“Apple’s decline in PC market share is unavoidable when considering its business model. Samsung narrowly took the lead in EMEA this quarter and Apple will lose its position to competitors in more markets in the future,” he said.
However, it’s not all bad news for Apple, added Coulling, because it’s one of the few firms making money out of the booming tablet market at the moment.
“Premium products attract high value consumers; for Apple, remaining highly profitable and driving revenue from its entire ecosystem is of greater importance than market share statistics,” he said.
Samsung, Canalys predicts, will gradually see its share of the Android-powered tablet market eaten away by the likes of Acer, Asus, Lenovo and HP, as well as some less well-known tablet makers.
In Q3 2013, the South Korean’s products accounted for 27 per cent of Android tablet shipments.
“With the cost and time-to-market advantages afforded by their Chinese supply chain, these small-to-micro brand vendors are eating up tablet market share,” said Canalys analyst James Wang.
“The rise of small-to-micro brand vendors has proved there is a demand for entry-level Android tablets in every country and in every region.”