IDC: Tablet Woes Continue on Holiday Season

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Consumers do not want to spend on tablets, IDC remarks-- Q4 2016 is the 9th consecutive quarter of tablet decline, with shipments dropping by -20.1% Y-o-Y to 52.9 million units.

Full year 2016 also sees declines, as shipments total 174.8m, down by -15.6% compared to 2015. This marks a second straight year of declining tablet shipments.

IDC Q4 2016 tablets

"The sentiment around the tablet market continues to grow stale despite a lot of talk about vendors pivoting their product portfolios toward the detachable segment," the analyst says. "Typical tablets without a dedicated keyboard, which IDC refers to as slate tablets, are continuing to lose relevancy across all regions and, as a result, we see the decline happening globally. We do see future growth in some emerging markets like the EMA as well as CEE with the sole catalysts being simplicity and low cost. Unfortunately for the industry these are the devices that don't equate to large revenues."

IDC points out detachable tablets are on the increase-- or at least vendors suggest this is the case, although currently "there is more talk than action." Apple and Microsoft dominate the category, and the analyst believes H2 2017 will see a wide range of new detachables from OEMs from both the notebook PC and smartphone arenas.

That said, detachables are already showing signs of decline, since the price and performance disparity between detachable tablets and convertible/hybrid notebooks is narrowing. However IDC says such decline should be temporary, as only two of the three major platforms have "significant" hardware presence in detachables, and the ecosystems will be further refined by future updates and developer support.

As to the vendor rankings, Apple continues to lead despite Q4 2016 shipment declines of -18.8%. The iPad Pro just 10% of overall iPad shipments, with the rest consisting of the iPad Air 2 and Mini. Samsung takes 2nd place with 15.1% market share on 8m shipments, a 11.4% Y-o-Y decline, followed by Amazon and its hot Black Friday Fire tablet sales.

4th placing Lenovo sees 14.8% Y-o-Y growth on Q4 2016, while Huawei finds success in European and M. Eastern markets with a value proposition armed with 3/4G connectivity.

Go IDC WW Quarterly Tablet Tracker February 2017