Smartphones Take Over Tech Industry as Tablet Sales Continue to Plunge

October 15, 2014 - Written By Nick Sutrich

The game of sales cat and mouse has finally caught up to tablets, and it’s smartphones who are to blame for the downfall of the large touch screen devices.  Over the years since tablets became popular with the first iPad just over four years ago, smartphones have continued to increase in size and encroach upon tablets not just in size, but in sales where it really matters.  If you are one of the people out there that doesn’t care for bigger phones, you can directly blame tablets and the fact that people just don’t want to carry around more than one device that can do everything.  Last year tablets saw a 55% growth year-over-year from 2012, which made plenty of sense since smartphones as a whole were under 5-inches in size.  Fast forward to this year where most flagships are at least 5-inches, and some of the best devices fall into the 5.5 to 6-inch category of phablet.  Heck, even the traditionally super small iPhone grew up this year in order to try to fight this battle.  Because of that tablets will only see an 11% growth rate this year, taking up only 9.5% of all personal electronic device sales worldwide.

Smartphones on the other hand have been banking for a while now, and that number only increases every year.    Smartphones are a whopping 77% of all personal electronics devices sold, outpacing even laptops and PCs by a considerable amount.  But what about Android’s make up of these devices?  Right now Android ships on over 51% of all devices sold, which aligns right with Gartner’s prediction earlier in the year that over half of all devices sold will ship with Android.  Breaking down the smartphone market gets even more interesting though, as Samsung leads the way with 20% of all smartphones sold, with Apple taking a pretty far second place with 10%.  Nokia backs up the third category, pushed mainly by cheap feature phones that keep the company hanging on, and Lenovo is right behind them in fourth place.

This is significant because it means that, yet again, Android takes up over 80% of the worldwide market in sales, with lots of manufacturers taking up that space instead of just one giant one.  Samsung might be the biggest player in the game, Android or not, but there’s plenty out there to challenge the South Korean tech giant, and with Samsung warning of potential massive drops in their earnings for Q3 2014, it looks like their time may just have come and gone if any of the power players in the market have anything to do with it.  Considering 3 times as many sales come from emerging markets, and those sales generally trend towards the other players in the market besides Samsung, 2015 is going to be a very interesting year indeed.