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Apple's iPad Sales Continue To Suffer

The overall market for tablets has shrunk, and Apple's new iPad Pro is still making its way into the market.

Apple's iPad Sales Continue To Suffer

[Photo: Flickr User brett jordan]

Sales of iPads declined 25% during the last quarter, which included the holiday shopping season, Apple announced on Tuesday evening as part of its earnings report.

The company sold 16.1 million of the iPads, falling well short of the 21.4 million it sold in the year-ago quarter, and short of the 18.2 million unit sales analysts had expected.

Sales of the devices slumped even with Apple's high hopes going into the holiday season. Part of the problem may have been that quantities of Apple's latest iPad—the iPad Pro—were limited after the device debuted in November.

Apple has been fighting headwinds with its tablet business for the last two years. Last quarter, it sold 9.9 million iPads, marking a 19.5% decline from the year-earlier quarter, and hitting below the 10-million unit mark for the first time since Q4 2011. iPad sales, in fact, declined roughly 20% in each of the first three quarters of 2015. The quarterly declines began in the first quarter of 2014.

Apple has been unable to defy the overall shrinkage of the worldwide tablet market. IDC said in December that worldwide tablet shipments would reach 211.3 million units in 2015, down 8.1% from 2014. The new numbers, IDC said, follow three consecutive quarters of declining shipments in 2015.

Some of the pressure on iPad sales might come from a wave of 2-in-1 tablets (a keyboard detaches from the body of the device). IDC expects detachable tablets will continue to represent a growing portion of total shipments.

Some analysts believe that iPad sales have been hurt by the introduction of larger-screened iPhones. Two years ago, tablets were thought to be the go-to device for tasks like online shopping. But, the numbers show, consumers prefer to use their phones by a wide margin.

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