Mobile Market Trends

Worldwide Tablet Shipments Drop More Than 12 Percent in Second Quarter


Worldwide tablet shipments, including detachables and slates, reached 38.7 million in the second quarter of 2016, according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation’s Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. That’s 12.3 percent less when compared to Q2 2015, as vendors begin to refocus their product lines and consumers hold off on purchases, IDC said.

The majority of tablets shipped this past quarter were Android-based systems (65 percent), followed by iOS (Apple), which captured 26 percent, and Windows got the remaining 9 percent. Although this trend has been constant for years, there are early signs of change as the Android vendor list has contracted and champions of the operating system have begun to offer Windows-based products, hedging against the decline of Android slates.

“The market has spoken as consumers and enterprises seek more productive form factors and operating systems — it’s the reason we’re seeing continued growth in detachables,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst with the IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers, in a prepared statement.

“At present, it’s difficult for Android to compete with iOS or Windows detachable products,” he said. “However, the next 12 to 18 months will be very interesting as Google launches the next version of Android with better multi-tasking support and as they begin to bring together their two operating systems.”

Despite the continued decline in slates, they still account for more than three-quarters of the market. “While growth in the detachable category is undeniable, slates continue to represent the vast majority of the segment,” said Jean Philippe Bouchard, research director for Tablets at IDC, in a prepared statement. “Vendors like Amazon, with a very focused approach to positioning, price and purpose, managed to capture a considerable share of the market. Slate sales are declining, but they still serve a purpose and will do so for a long time to come.”

Here are some tablet vendor highlights:

  • Apple’s launch of its second detachable helped lessen its year-over-year decline to 9 percent. However, more importantly, it helped raise Apple’s average selling price and revenue. Price reductions on previous generation iPads and the latest Pro iterations are expected to have the same effect for the remainder of 2016 as the consumer and enterprise audience evaluate their needs.
  • Samsung continues to hold the No. 2 position in IDC’s ranking with methodical coverage of price bands, features and screen sizes. Samsung’s results should get better as it arguably leaves the detachable category still untouched. Samsung’s Galaxy View is not included in IDC’s tablet data and therefore not included in the present results.
  • Lenovo’s strength is primarily in Asia/Pacific, Europe and the Middle East and Africa (MEA). The company has managed to grow its share on some unique, occasionally esoteric designs. Tablets like the Yoga Tab 3 Pro offer a built-in projector and have allowed Lenovo to differentiate itself from other premium media-focused tablets. However, the majority of its shipments still come from the low-cost Lenovo Tab 2 and Lenovo Tab 3 lineups.
  • Huawei’s Matebook has been off to a rocky start as the features have not been reflective of the price. The China-based company’s first foray into the detachable segment seems half-hearted, IDC said, and it’s imperative for this to change should Huawei expect to make any headway in this category. Meanwhile, Huawei’s slates continue to perform well in the Asia/Pacific and MEA regions.
  • The IDC study gave credit to Amazon, as its performance in Q2 has been reflective of the popular Fire tablets. The low price combined with the company’s online presence has once again afforded Amazon a spot in the top five vendor list. IDC predicted that the popularity of Amazon’s Prime Day Sale would net similar results in the third quarter 2016.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].