Worldwide tablet shipments fell by almost 30 per cent in the first quarter of this year (Jan-Mar), according to new figures released by analyst firm IDC.

7.2 million tablets were shifted in the three month period, compared to 10.1 million sold in Q4 2010.

But let's break it down; Q4 2010 included Christmas and the months running up to it. No one spends any money in January (anecdotally, at least). And a plethora of new tablets, the iPad 2 included, were anticipated to hit the market in April which is just outside Q1's remit.

So it's no huge surprise that shipments fell in the first part of the year; and it's no huge surprise that they're on their way back up again, with IDC revising their tablet sales estimates for the year back up – from 50.4 million tablets up to 53.5.

Festive upswing

Jennifer Song, IDC research analyst explained: "Although media tablet sales were not as high as expected in the first quarter of 2011 due to slower consumer demand, overall economic conditions and supply-chain constraints, we believe with the entrance of competitive new devices in the second half of 2011, the market will sell close to 53 million units for the year and continue to grow long-term."

And guess which tablets are dominating the market? Yep, it's Apple's iPad and iPad 2, while "other vendors have had a more difficult time finding market acceptance for their products", something IDC blames on consumers' unwillingness to sign up to additional data plans.

But there is some good news for the Android tablet market: its share of the worldwide tablet market grew by 8 per cent in Q1, taking it up to 34 per cent in total.

Via Computer Weekly