2014 was a great year for smartphones and phablet devices, but it wasn’t such a great year for tablets. A recent report research firm IDC shows shipments of all tablets worldwide will increase by 7.2 percent this year, a number up from last year’s 52.5 percent.

Apple Inc. iPad Shipments Declined In 2014

Tablet shipment decline

The total of tablet shipments will total 235.7 million. These numbers show tech consumers are holding on to their smartphones and tablet computers. It is generally expected consumers will replace tablets every two to three years, but many are holding on to their devices even longer. And since new software can run on older devices, most customers feel no need to rush out for the latest tablet.

IDC’s program director Ryan Reith explained, “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.”

Apple iPad shipments to continue decline, rival tablets increase

IDC predicts there will be a total of 64.7 million iPad shipments this year. That is a decline of 12.7 percent from last year. The tech company’s CEO Tim Cook expressed his wish for iPad shipments to grow. It is possible Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could get a boost from an enterprise partnership with International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) to create mobile devices that feature customized cloud, analytics, and management software.  Shipments for Windows and Android tablets are increasing. This year, Android-based tablets are expected to increase to 159.5 million units with a growth of 16 percent. Windows tablet computers and hybrids totaled 10.9 million growth with a growth at 67.3 percent..Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is the most popular device.

IDC also predicts tablet shipments will continue to slow down into 2018 with an estimated yeary growth of 5.4 percent. This isn’t to say unknowns like Apple product expansions and Windows 10 couldn’t impact shipments.