Tablet sales extend slide as habits shift

IDC reported an 8.5 per cent drop in global tablet shipments to 36.2 million - the 10th straight quarterly fall. A separate poll by Strategy Analytics pegged the drop at 10 per cent.
IDC reported an 8.5 per cent drop in global tablet shipments to 36.2 million - the 10th straight quarterly fall. A separate poll by Strategy Analytics pegged the drop at 10 per cent.PHOTO: REUTERS

Polls show declines for most top producers as consumers rely more on smartphones

WASHINGTON • The tablet craze from a few years ago showed more signs of fading this year, with most major producers posting sales declines, market surveys showed on Thursday.

IDC reported an 8.5 per cent drop in global tablet shipments to 36.2 million - the 10th straight quarterly fall. A separate poll by Strategy Analytics pegged the drop at 10 per cent.

IDC analyst Ryan Reith said the sizzling growth in tablets from 2010 to 2013 following the launch of the first iPad is now history, and many consumers are finding they can do without tablets, relying instead on smartphones or new slimmer laptop PCs.

"The rate at which the tablet market grew from 2010 to 2013 was unlike many other consumer-oriented device markets we've seen before," he said. "However, it appears... consumers became less eager to refresh these devices or, in some instances, purchase them at all. We continue to believe the leading driver for this was the increased dependency on smartphones, along with rather minimal technology and form factor progression."

IDC said Apple led the market with a 24.6 per cent share in the first quarter despite a 13 per cent sales drop. Samsung sales fell 1.1 per cent, but it retained the No. 2 spot at 16.5 per cent.

China's Huawei was the only major vendor to show growth - reporting a 31.7 per cent jump, garnering a 7.4 per cent share, after introducing new "detachable" tablets powered by Microsoft Windows, IDC said.

IDC estimated that Amazon, which does not report detailed sales figures, sold 2.2 million tablets for a 6 per cent market share, a drop of 1.8 per cent. Lenovo held the No. 5 spot with a market share of 5.7 per cent for the Chinese electronics giant, according to IDC.

Strategy Analytics, which reported similar market shares, said growth had evaporated for Microsoft and its Surface tablets after a number of strong quarters. Its survey found sales of Windows tablets, which include Microsoft Surface devices, fell 2 per cent from a year ago to 6.3 million units, which gave the operating system a market share of 15 per cent.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 06, 2017, with the headline 'Tablet sales extend slide as habits shift'. Print Edition | Subscribe