Tablet growth plummets again as 2016 shows the hype didn’t last

Tablet sales dropped by over 12pc in Q2 2016 – following a fall of 15pc in Q1 – with only Huawei and Amazon offering signs of hope in the industry.

Apple: -9.2pc. Samsung: -24.5pc. Total tablet market: -12.3pc. The fall-off in sales on last year, which itself was hardly a record-breaker, appears hard to stop.

Q1 of this year was down on an already low figure, with last year’s numbers highlighting the end of a very brief era. What does it mean for the industry? Detachables, perhaps.

“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 ICD.

Tablet purchasing may never have followed the growth patterns of smartphones, though, as upgrading to newer devices is less guaranteed due to the reduced use of the devices. Though bundling operating systems may change that.

“At present, it’s difficult for Android to compete with iOS or Windows detachable products. 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.”

Though detachables are growing from a far smaller base, with Android-operated tablets still representing two-thirds of the entire industry.

This is helped by Huawei and Amazon, two over-performers in the area, with growth of 71pc and 1208.9pc respectively.

IDC namechecks the latter’s Fire tablets and the Amazon Prime Day Sale as reasons for optimism. We were impressed by the Fire tablets, too.

Remarkably low-priced, the tablets are expected to continue to post fine figures for the rest of the year, helped by the fact they were not included in 2015.

“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,” said Jean Philippe Bouchard, research director at IDC.


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