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Mark Peters : August 6th 2017 - 07:35 CET

Apple still dominates the tablet market

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IDCDownward spiral of worldwide tablet market continues : IDC has published their updated market outlook on tablets and detachable devices. The downward spiral of the worldwide tablet market continued during the second quarter of 2017, according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. The total tablet market includes slate tablets plus detachable tablets. Despite product launches like the new lower priced iPad and tablets from other top-tier vendors, shipments for tablets declined 3.4% year over year in 2Q17, reaching 37.9 million. Once touted as the savior of the market, detachable tablets also declined in the second quarter as consumers waited in anticipation of product refreshes from high-profile manufacturers like Apple and Microsoft.
Tablet market share

Tablet market slows down
With new product launches towards the end of the second quarter, the detachable market is expected to maintain a stronger position in the second half of the year. Market turmoil aside, three of the top five tablet vendors managed to increase share and grow on an annual basis with price being the largest driving factor.

However, these gains may be temporary as the replacement cycle of tablets is still long (closer to traditional Personal Computers rather than smartphones) and first-time buyers have become a rare commodity.

With downward pressure on pricing from big name brands, white-box tablet vendors and smaller brands are starting to turn their attention away from tablets and IDC expects this trend to continue in the following months.

Detachable devices

Detachable devices
"There's been a resetting of expectations for detachable devices as competing convertible notebooks offered a convincing and familiar computing experience for many," said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers.

"To date, the 2-in-1 market was bifurcated as Apple and Microsoft led with detachable devices while the computer vendors led with convertibles. Though that is slowly changing as smartphone vendors and traditional PC vendors begin to offer compelling alternatives, the pace has been rather slow as Surface and iPad Pro still dominate shelf space and mindshare.", Jitesh added.

New tablets launches from Apple and Microsoft
"The tablet market has essentially become a race to see if the burgeoning detachable category can grow fast enough to offset the long-term erosion of the slate market," said Linn Huang, research director, Devices & Displays at IDC.

"From that lens, the second quarter was a slight righting of the ship and there is still much to be hopeful about in the back half of 2017. New tablets launches from Microsoft and Apple are generally accompanied by subsequent quarters of inflated shipments, the reintroduction of Windows to the ARM platform could help remedy the aforementioned hollowing of the middle of the market, and we expect a proliferation of Chrome OS-based detachables in time for the holidays.", Linn added.

Apple iPad tablets

Apple iPad tablets
Apple positioned itself quite well during the quarter by consolidating its tablet lineup and introducing two new iPads. The new iPad's relatively low price point triggered some consumers to upgrade their aging devices and demand for this new tablet finally caused a turnaround for Apple's iPad business.

Meanwhile Apple's transition towards detachable tablets continued with the launch of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and a major update to Apple iOS which is expected later this year.

Samsung Galaxy tablets

Samsung Galaxy tablets
Samsung Electronics was able to gain share simply by sustaining flat growth in the declining tablet market. The Korean-based company appears to be the third major contender in the detachable category, after Apple and Microsoft.

Samsung offers multiple detachable tablets with a choice of either Windows or Android. On a worldwide basis, Samsung's slates have a significant presence though, like many other tablet vendors, this portion of the business continues to struggle.

Huawei tablets

Huawei tablets
Huawei's investment in brand marketing in Europe and Asia has continued to work well as the company finds itself among the top 5 for tablets as well as Android-based smartphones. With plenty of low-cost and cellular-enabled options, Huawei has been able to slowly steal share from rivals like Lenovo.

Huawei has been fairly cautious of the detachable market and recent products have had very limited launches.

Amazon tablets

Amazon tablets
Amazon's aggressive pricing strategy has worked well due to its ever-growing ecosystem. Amazon also managed to update its tablet lineup, offering new devices at a competitive price point and expanding its Alexa service to the United Kingdom.

Amazon is also the only major vendor that actively targets the kids' tablet market by offering a dedicated bundle inclusive of kid-friendly content - an approach that seems to have paid off as the company has managed to maintain a stronghold in the tablet market.

Lenovo tablets

Lenovo tablets
Despite the annual decline, Lenovo has managed to slowly increase the share of detachable tablets within its product portfolio, which tend to have a higher average selling prices. A low-cost strategy focused on Asia has worked so far, but that strategy is starting to lose its legs.

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