Low-Cost Detachables and Slates in the Lead as Tablet Market Slump Persists in the Third Quarter, According to IDC

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#IDCTracker–The worldwide tablet market continued its slump as vendors shipped 43
million units in the third quarter of 2016 (3Q16), a year-over-year
decline of 14.7%, according to preliminary data from the International
Data Corporation (IDC)
Quarterly Tablet Tracker
. In contrast to the annual decline, 3Q16
shipments were up 9.8% over the second quarter of 2016 as the larger
vendors prepared for the holiday quarter.

Low-cost (sub-$200) detachables also reached an all-time high as vendors
like RCA flooded the market. “Unfortunately, many low-cost detachables
also deliver a low-cost experience,” said Jitesh
, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly
Mobile Device Trackers. “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.”

“Beyond the different end-user experience delivered by low- and high-end
tablets, we’re witnessing real tectonic movements in the market with
slate companion devices sold at the low-end serving a broader platform
strategy, like Amazon is doing with Alexa on its Fire Tablets, and more
expensive productivity tools closer to true computing and legitimate
notebook replacement devices that should manage to keep average prices
up,” said Jean
Philippe Bouchard
, research director, Tablets
at IDC.

Tablet Vendor Highlights

Despite Apple‘s marketing push for the iPad Pro, 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% year over year, total iPad-related revenues were
flat for the quarter, thanks to the iPad Pro offering.

Samsung continued to hold the number 2 position. Fortunately, the
negative press from the Note 7 did not bleed over into its tablet
business. However, overreliance on the declining slate market led to a
decline of 19.3% compared to 3Q15. Samsung‘s attempt to enter the
detachable market with its TabPro S at the beginning of 2016 seems to
have taken a backseat as its price and positioning remain uncompetitive.

The Amazon Prime Day sale in early July led to a huge surge in
shipments of its Fire tablets. The already low-priced device was offered
at a 30% discount then, and continued to remain popular throughout the
rest of the quarter. The new Fire HD 8 released in early October will
likely perform well in the holiday quarter as it follows Amazon’s
strategy of selling low-cost tablets as a gateway and companion to its
ecosystem. It is important to note that Amazon’s unprecedented growth is
partially attributed to the fact that IDC did not include the 6-inch
tablets offered by Amazon in 3Q15.

Lenovo continued to maintain its stronghold in Asia/Pacific
(excluding Japan) as well as Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
Though the company has many aspirational products across all its entire
consumer electronics portfolio, none were enough to raise the company’s
profile in the tablet market, resulting in a 10.8% decline this quarter.
While the latest Yoga Book announced at IFA garnered some praise, it is
important to note that IDC will be counting this as a traditional PC.

Huawei‘s strong presence in the adjacent smartphone market and
overall brand recognition has cascaded into the tablet market. The
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 who only offer WiFi-enabled
devices. Huawei’s presence in Asian, European, and Middle Eastern &
African markets remains strong.


Top Five Tablet Vendors, Shipments, Market Share, and Growth,
Third Quarter 2016

(Preliminary Results, Shipments in


3Q16 Unit


3Q16 Market


3Q15 Unit


3Q15 Market


Year Growth

1. Apple       9.3       21.5%       9.9       19.6%       -6.2%
2. Samsung       6.5       15.1%       8.1       16.0%       -19.3%
3. Amazon.com       3.1       7.3%       0.8       1.5%       319.9%
4. Lenovo       2.7       6.3%       3.1       6.0%       -10.8%
5. Huawei       2.4       5.6%       1.9       3.7%       28.4%
Others       19.0       44.2%       26.9       53.2%       -29.2%
Total       43.0       100.0%       50.5       100.0%       -14.7%
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, October 31, 2016


  • Total tablet market includes slate tablets plus detachable tablets.
    References to “tablets” in this release include both slate tablets and
    detachable devices.
  • Data is preliminary and subject to change.
  • Vendor shipments are branded device shipments and exclude OEM sales
    for all vendors.
  • The “Vendor” represents the current parent company (or holding
    company) for all brands owned and operated as subsidiary.

In addition to the table above, an interactive graphic showing worldwide
market share for the top 5 tablet vendors over the previous five
quarters is available here.
The chart is intended for public use in online news articles and social
media. Instructions on how to embed this graphic can be found by viewing this
press release on IDC.com

About IDC Trackers
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About IDC
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Jean Philippe Bouchard, 647-463-8618
Ubrani, 416-673-2214
Reith, 650-350-6242
Shirer, 508-935-4200