Global tablet shipments are expected to drop 15-20% sequentially in the first quarter of 2014 due to off-peak season effects, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers.
Digitimes Research has estimated Apple will see its iPad shipments decline 22.7% sequentially to 18 million units in the first quarter from 26 million units shipped in the prior quarter.
But makers in the supply chain are more optimistic, expecting total iPad shipments to reach 20 million in the first quarter.
According to WitsView, Apple purchased a total of 30.35 million flat panels for iPads in the fourth quarter of 2013, including six million for iPad mini, 7.49 million for Retina iPad mini and 17 million for 9.7-inch iPad.
For the first quarter of 2014, Apple's display purchases for iPads will total 25.8 million units, including 4.4 million for iPad mini, 7.4 million for Retina iPad mini and 14 million for 9.7-inch models, WitView added.
Samsung Electronics is expected to narrow its gap against Apple in tablet shipments to a range within four million units in the first quarter by offering aggressive pricing and optimizing the release of the Galaxy Tab Lite series, said the sources.