Mobile business devices enjoy 'buoyant' Q2, but outlook remains volatile: Strategy Analytics

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Demand for mobile business devices varies significantly from market to market.

Samsung gained significant ground against Apple in the battle of business-centric mobile devices during a “buoyant” second quarter of 2017, according to fresh data from Strategy Analytics.

The market research firm said demand for mobile business gadgets “showed signs of a rebound” during the quarter, with business smartphone shipments climbing 14.8% year over year to reach 107.1 million units, and business tablet shipments inching up 0.7% year over year to reach 17.3 million units. Smartphone shipments saw 6.1% incremental growth and tablet shipments enjoyed a 7.5% increase quarter over quarter.

“Overall, the business smartphone industry expanded steadily in the second quarter; Samsung saw positive shipment growth while Apple’s shipments slipped by 11%,” Principal Analyst Gina Luk said in a press release. “Android and iOS are the two dominant operating systems in the market, as Windows smartphone shipments continued to be squeezed out by the industry with close to zero market share. Worldwide personal liable smartphones continue to dominate over corporate liable shipments, at 63.5% of global deployments.”

The second-quarter gains provide hope for growth in the second half of the year, the firm said, but “the outlook still remains volatile” due to lengthened device replacement cycles and General Data Protection Regulation likely to be a drag over the short to medium term. And demand varies significantly between geographies.

“The picture is still quite mixed,” said Andrew Brown, Strategy Analytics’ executive director of enterprise research. “North American business tablet volumes were up 5.4% sequentially in Q2 2017, however shipments declined 4.2% year over year. The story was similar in Central and Latin America, which grew 2.2% quarterly, but shrank by 6.1% from Q2 2016, although other regions are registering positive quarter-over-quarter growth.”

Business tablet shipments may be outpacing those of the overall tablet market, however. IDC said earlier this year that the worldwide tablet market saw a year-over-year decline of 8.5%, marking the tenth straight quarter of year-over-year contraction. IDC blamed the shrinking market on increasing demand for devices with detachable keyboards at the expense of traditional slates.