IDC: Global tablet market slump persists in Q3

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The worldwide tablet market continued its slump in the third quarter of 2016, as latest figures from IDC showed that shipments fell 14.7 per cent year on year to 43 million units.

On a sequential basis, however, third-quarter shipments were up 9.8 per cent over the second quarter of 2016 as the larger vendors prepared for the holiday quarter.

The market continues to be propped up by low-cost detachables (tablets with detachable keyboards) costing below $200 (€183), but Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst at IDC, also noted that many low-cost detachables also deliver a low-cost experience.

"The race to the bottom is something we have already experienced with slates and it may prove detrimental to the market in the long run as detachables could easily be seen as disposable devices rather than potential PC replacements,” Ubrani said.

Despite market leader Apple's marketing push for the iPad Pro, IDC said the iPad Air and Mini lines have been the models with mass appeal, accounting for more than two-thirds of its shipments this quarter. Although Apple's tablet shipments declined 6.2 per cent year over year, total iPad-related revenues were flat for the quarter, thanks to the iPad Pro offering.

Samsung continued to hold the number two position as the negative press from the Note 7 smartphone did not bleed over into its tablet business. However, IDC said an over-reliance on the declining slate market led to a decline of 19.3 per cent compared to the third quarter of 2015.

Amazon was in third placed, boosted by sales of its Fire tablets. Lenovo continued to maintain its stronghold in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) as well as Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

IDC added that Huawei's strong presence in the adjacent smartphone market and overall brand recognition has cascaded into the tablet market. The research company noted that the Chinese vendor offers a very strong value proposition as many of its tablets (over two-thirds) come integrated with cellular connectivity while maintaining a similar price to rivals that only offer WiFi-enabled devices.