Home Market Global tablet sales 'on a slippery slope'

Global tablet sales 'on a slippery slope'

Worldwide tablet sales contracted 8.5% in Q1, 2017 as the migration from traditional slates to hybrid formats continues to escalate.

According to IDC, the hardest hit was Apple’s iOS-based iPad in first position with a 13% year-on-year (y-o-y) drop to 8.9 million units representing 24.6% market share. Samsung was number two at six million (16.5%) and experienced a small drop of 1.1%. Huawei was third at 2.7 million (7.4%) with spectacular growth of 31.7%.

IDC has at last differentiated between slates and hybrids (like the Surface Pro with a detachable keyboard) that also cross over the traditional personal computer desktop/notebook market. These figures are for slates.

Ryan Reith, programme vice-president with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers, said, “The tablet market category was really created in 2010 with the launch of the original iPad.

Consumers have been less eager to refresh these devices, or in some instances purchase them at all. The leading driver was the increased dependency on smartphones, along with rather minimal technology and form factor progression."

IDC says the PC market has recorded its first growth in five years.

Top Five Tablet Companies, Worldwide Shipments, Market Share, and Growth, First Quarter 2017 (Preliminary Results, Shipments in millions)
Company 1Q17 Unit Shipments 1Q17 Market Share 1Q16 Unit Shipments 1Q16 Market Share Year-Over-Year Growth
1. Apple 8.9 24.6% 10.3 25.9% -13.0%
2. Samsung 6.0 16.5% 6.0 15.2% -1.1%
3. Huawei 2.7 7.4% 2.0 5.1% 31.7%
4. Amazon.com 2.2 6.0% 2.2 5.6% -1.8%
5. Lenovo 2.1 5.7% 2.2 5.5% -3.8%
Others 14.4 39.8% 16.9 42.7% -14.7%
Total 36.2 100.0% 39.6 100.0% -8.5%
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, 4 May, 2017

Apple experienced its 13th consecutive quarter of y-o-y shipment decline. Last year was Apple's first full year of iPad Pro shipments, which included the launch of the smaller screen lower-cost 9.7” version.

Samsung remained the number two tablet provider. It continues to migrate its tablet portfolio to the detachable segment and launched three new Windows 10 products at this year's Mobile World Congress in February. After supposedly leaving the PC business in 2014, Samsung now finds itself approaching the market again with a handful of Windows 10 detachable tablet models.

Huawei was the only company among the top five to experience growth – up 31.7% from a low base of 2 million a year ago. Huawei has also slowly migrated its tablet portfolio from an Android slate tablet line-up to now include a mix of Windows 10 detachables.

Amazon.com continues to fluctuate in and out of the top rankings with its low-cost Kindle Fire devices. In Q1 the company shipped 2.2 million devices at very aggressive price points with a strategy to drive content and product sales via the device.

Lenovo shipped 2.1 million tablets. IDC expects to see more of its successful notebook PC line-up migrate into the detachable tablet category. 

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!