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Friday, November 03, 2017
Tablet Market Remains in Decline


The third quarter of 2017 (3Q17) closed with 40 million tablets shipped globally, a 5.4% decline year over year, due to growing demand for smartphones combined with the lengthening replacement cycle of tablets and strengthening position of traditional PCs.

According to International Data Corporation (IDC), the 3Q17 was the twelfth consecutive quarter of annual decline in tablet shipments.

"There's a penchant for low-cost slates and this holds true even for premium vendors like Apple," said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers. "However, many of these low-cost slates are simply long-awaited replacements for consumers as first-time buyers are becoming harder to find and the overall installed base for these devices declines further in the coming years."

Meanwhile, growth in the detachable tablet market has been slower than expected as Apple and Microsoft are essentially the only two vendors supplying the category and other PC vendors champion the convertible PC form factor.

Top Five Tablet Companies, Worldwide Shipments, Market Share, and Growth, Third Quarter 2017 (preliminary results, shipments in millions)

Vendor

3Q17 Unit Shipments

3Q17 Market Share

3Q16 Unit Shipments

3Q16 Market Share

Year-Over-Year Growth

1. Apple

10.3

25.8%

9.3

21.9%

11.4%

2. Samsung

6.0

15.0%

6.5

15.4%

-7.9%

3. Amazon.com

4.4

10.9%

3.1

7.5%

38.7%

4. Huawei

3.0

7.5%

2.5

6.0%

18.8%

4. Lenovo

3.0

7.4%

2.7

6.5%

8.9%

Others

13.3

33.3%

18.1

42.8%

-26.3%

Total

40.0

100.0%

42.3

100.0%

-5.4%

Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker

Although Apple still enjoys a substantial premium over competitors, the lower-priced iPad has helped it to cement the first-place position. The latest version of iOS has helped make iPads a more serious PC competitor than ever before but the need for legacy apps (especially in the commercial segment) and strong value offerings from other PC and mobile vendors has prevented iPads from becoming the primary computing device for the masses.

Samsung offers one of the broadest range of detachable tablets that includes multiple screen sizes and operating systems yet detachable tablets account for less than 10% of its shipments in the quarter. These high-priced, halo devices have led to Samsung's premium image but the company still relies heavily on the lower cost Tab A and E series. This may create long-term issues as rival tablet vendors often offer products at a better value.

Amazon.com's aggressive hardware strategy in the tablet market has proven to be quite successful as the company managed to grow 38.7% on an annual basis. The low-cost hardware push has always been a means to create a long-standing and ongoing relationship with end users. To that extent, Amazon even offered the 7-inch tablet for under $30 during the Prime Day Sale.

Huawei and Lenovo managed to tie for fourth place as both companies have maintained a similar strategy of focusing on low-cost devices in Asia/Pacific and Western Europe. Huawei has managed to maintain some differentiation by concentrating on cellular-enabled tablets while Lenovo recently launched the Tab 4 lineup, which offers competitive specs and features at a great value.



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