Once a booming segment, the worldwide tablet market continues to decline year after year. For the second quarter of 2018, the global shipments fell to 33 million, resulting in a 13.5 per cent decline, reports IDC in its Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker.
Comprising slate tablets and detachables, the former accounted for the majority of the market with 28.4 million units, down 14.5 per cent from the previous year. IDC reports that detachable tablets also declined during the quarter, largely due to the high-profile product launches in the second quarter of 2017 and the absence of timely updates to these products in 2Q18.
"The detachable market is at a crucial stage as it has been driven primarily by premium products from Microsoft and Apple and growth has slowed in recent months. Though consumers and businesses alike have shown interest in the detachable form factor, those operating on tighter budgets have had very few options available to them and hence some have opted for traditional PCs. However, with the launch of the Surface Go, Chrome OS-based detachables, and hopefully a more affordable iPad Pro in the future, the detachable category still has a bright future, provided the performance and software lines up with users' expectations," said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst IDC.
However, Apple and Huawei are the only two companies that registered growth during this period. With the introduction of the iPad tablet in 2010, Apple popularized tablets as a computing as well as a consumption device. The company's lead continues to be unabated. Apple launched the new iPad for students towards the end of the first quarter, which was combined with improvements to the OS. This seems to be paying off for the company. Apple registered a year-on-year growth of 0.9 per cent with 34.9 per cent market share in 2018, up from 29.9 per cent in 2017. The total shipments for iPads in 2018 accounted for 11.5 million units.
Samsung stood in the second spot with 5 million units shipped in the corresponding period. However, Samsung's market share declined to 15.1 per cent from 15.6 per cent last year, witnessing a decline of 16.1 per cent in year-on-year growth. Samsung slate and detachable shipments both declined as Samsung's tablet portfolio continued to age barring a couple of product refreshes in the slate category (Tab A 7.0 and Tab Active 2).
Huawei stood at number three, with 3.4 million tablets shipped in the second quarter. The majority of these shipments continue to be in the Asia/Pacific region, excluding Japan, which accounted for nearly 50 per cent of the company's total. Although Huawei's detachable shipments remain limited, they grew more than 200 per cent in the latest quarter. Overall, Huawei's market share grew to 10.3 per cent, from 8.2 per cent during the same period last year. While Lenovo's shipments remained relatively steady at two million units in the second quarter, there was a decline of 8.4 per cent compared to the same period a year ago, as well as a sequential decline from the first quarter of 2018.
"The first-generation of Windows 10 on Snapdragon detachables failed to impress as sluggish performance and the limited number of available programs and apps prevented the first few products in the category from achieving mass market success," said Lauren Guenveur, senior research analyst, IDC.
"However, with Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon 850 processor, specifically designed for Always Connected PCs, as well as new tools from Microsoft to bring 64-bit apps to the Always Connected platform, we believe there is a promising future for this line of products. The purported advantages of the platform, including its cost effectiveness over Intel X86 processors, could do a lot to boost shipments of detachables, particularly in the woefully underserved mid-market segment. This segment remains key to the overall growth of the detachable market, one which Microsoft has only started to address with the release of the Surface Go," adds Guenveur.