Tablet market takes year-on-year hit, says IDC

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25 November 2016 | 0

Apple regained the top spot for unit sales in the combined tablet/detachable PC market in the third quarter of 2016, though the market overall has suffered a 6.7% decline over the same period last year, according to new firgured from research firm IDC.

The main trends in the quarter were the ongoing expansion of detachables and the penetration of tablets in the commercial segment.

Detachables posted a 48.4% increase year-on-year, while the commercial segment grew 13.1% year-on-year. Detachable devices, especially those targeting the commercial segment, are normally positioned at higher price bands, due to the specification requirements in the space. As a result, the number of devices in the over-€600 price band in Western Europe grew 66.7% year-on-year, accounting for 10.6% of the total tablet market in 3Q16. Despite the overall decline in sales, the total value of the market grew 4.8% over the same period in 2015 to to €2.5 billion.

“The increasing penetration of detachables, particularly in the commercial space, is sustaining tablet market value despite the contraction in volume,” said research analyst Daniel Goncalves. “The offer available in the market continues to grow, along with enterprises’ increasing interest in technologies that fit their mobile strategies. As a result detachables, particularly those with the performance and security to meet enterprise standards, are continuously gaining traction and this is boosting demand for premium devices.”

The share of detachables in Western Europe priced above €600 increased from 26.5% in the third quarter of 2015 to 52.2% over the same period in 2016, which highlights their contribution to overall tablet market value.

Detachables continue to increase their share in the overall tablet market, accounting for 21.9% of all tablet devices in the third quarter of 2016 compared with 13.8% over the year-ago period. This category continues to be dominated by Apple and Microsoft, through their respective iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface series. Together they account for 46.4% of detachable volume.

“Surface Pro and iPad Pro success comes from them being a notebook replacement, as well as the quality of the devices,” said Goncalves. “The devices are increasingly adopted across consumer and commercial segments, and while in the consumer segment both appeal to the ‘prosumer’ user, in commercial the adoption varies depending on the activities of the end user. [The] iPad Pro is more popular for creative types of jobs, whereas Surface is more likely to be adopted by top executives, partly due to Windows’ strong legacy in enterprise.”

The slate market declined 15.5% year-on-year, and this was the main reason for the overall tablet market decrease in Western Europe. Slate sales have been affected by increasing saturation in the market, a lack of innovative features in new models, and sluggish replacement cycles. The consumer segment, which contracted 10.8% year-on-year, was strongly affected by this.

By vendor ranking, Apple maintained its leadership in Western Europe and remains well ahead of the competition in the consumer segment. On the commercial side. Samsung was second but has been gradually reducing its entry-level offer, resulting in some loss of market share.

Lenovo was third, leveraging its wide portfolio in both slates and detachables to avoid a year-on-year decline. Acer and Amazon were fourth and fifth respectively, boosted by seasonality. Amazon has boosted sales in the entry-level segment with its aggressive Kindle pricing.

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