For a while now multiple sources show that tablet shipment growth is slowing, and the latest finding from NPD shows that the trend could be on its way into the negative. April 2014 was the first month to see tablet panel shipments decline year-over-year.

More specifically, the firm’s monthly tablet PC panel shipment tracking has shown shipments of 25.3 million in April 2013, followed by a 4 percent drop to 24.2 million in April 2014. This is better illustrated in the graph below:

140521 DS blog NPD: Tablet panel shipments declined year over year for the first time in April 2014

This is the result of the tablet PC market maturing, even though it appears to be happening much sooner than most technology markets. Tablets are seeing a squeeze from both ends: large-screen smartphones as well as cheaper laptops with touch support. Furthermore, tablets have quickly become “good enough,” meaning it’s hard to convince consumers to replace their existing devices.

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