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Annual iPad Sales Expected to Fall for First Time

Image: A man uses a new iPad mini

A man uses a new iPad mini. AFP / AFP/Getty Images file

As the calendar year comes to a close, full-year Apple iPad sales are expected to decline for the first time in the tablet's five-year history, according to a new report.

ABI Research on Tuesday forecast for iPad sales to reach about 68 million in 2014, down from the 74 million units sold in 2013.

"Historically, Apple has counted approximately 35 percent of its iPad sales in the last calendar quarter of the year," says Jeff Orr, senior practice director of ABI. "Unless Apple can pull off a 32-plus million-unit quarter, sales for CY2014 will be down for the first year since the iPad launched."

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Along with Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Google are also expected to post year-over-year declines in branded tablet unit volume.

On the other hand, Samsung, the second-largest tablet vendor, is forecast to ship around 43 million tablets in 2014, better than the 38 million shipped in the previous calendar year. Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG and Microsoft are also forecast to end higher the year higher.

Comparing tablet operating systems, Android continues to gain share with an expected 54 percent of branded tablets including the Google OS in 2014 while iOS falls to 41 percent and Windows 8 trails at 5 percent of shipments, the report said.

The research firm sees overall tablet sales growing some 16 percent year over year to 194 million in 2015. The growth trend is expected to continue over the next five years with a forecast of nearly 290 million tablet shipments in 2019.