Tablet shipments saw a big boost in the final quarter of last year, but that momentum might be slowing. Those are the conclusions reached by IT market researcher IDC in its latest survey of the global tablet market. IDC said that tablet shipments advanced to a total of 76.9 million units in Q4 of last year, or 62% higher than the same quarter of 2012. For the entirety of 2013, those figures were 217.1 million and 51%, respectively.

However, the company quoted Tom Mainelli, its research director of tablets, as saying that "we expect commercial purchases of tablets to continue to accelerate in mature markets, but softness in the consumer segment -- brought about by high penetration rates and increased competition for the consumer dollar -- point to a more challenging environment for tablets in 2014 and beyond."

As with the same quarter the previous year, Q4 2013's leader in terms of both unit shipments and market share was Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). The company shipped 26 million tablets during the quarter to hold a market share of nearly 34%. No. 2 was Samsung (NASDAQOTH:SSNLF), with 14.5 million and almost 19%, respectively. (NASDAQ:AMZN) held third place but slipped on a year-over-year basis; it shipped 5.8 million Kindle tablets for a share of 7.6%, following a Q4 2012 that saw it move 5.9 million units for a market share of just under 10%.

Eric Volkman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool both recommends and owns shares of and Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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