IDC: Tablet Woes Continue For Market (With Two Exceptions)

Tough Time For Tablets

Despite the release of notable new tablets in the fall -- like the iPad Pro and Surface Pro 4 -- the global tablet market declined yet again the fourth quarter of 2015.

According to market research firm IDC, 65.9 million tablets were shipped in the fourth quarter, down 13.7 percent from the same quarter last year.

Despite the downward trajectory of tablets, IDC highlighted one significant trend facing the market -- a transition from pure slate tablets, which do not contain a companion keyboard, to detachable tablets, or hybrid 2-in-1 devices that can act independently as tablets.

Following are the top five vendors with the most shipments in the fourth quarter of 2015.

5. Huawei Sees Strong Q4 Growth

Chinese company Huawei was the fifth-best-selling tablet vendor in the fourth quarter of 2015, taking 3.4 percent of the market’s share. The company sold 2.2 million tablets, experiencing blowout 124.6 percent growth from the same quarter last year, according to IDC.

Huawei’s primary focus over the quarter were cellular-enabled tablets and international expansion into new markets, including the U.S.

Beyond its signature Honor line, the company recently said it would sell its popular Mate 8 tablet in the U.S. and launched the 10.1-inch MediaPad X2 tablet at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

In 2015 overall, Huawei took 3.1 percent market share, a 116.6 percent increase from 2014.

4. Lenovo’s Tablet Shipment Lineup Declines

Lenovo’s tablet shipments dipped 13.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 from the same period a year earlier, but IDC analysts remained bullish that the Chinese company will regain market share in 2016.

Lenovo shipped 3.2 million tablets in the fourth quarter, with its Yoga, MIIX and ThinkPad tablet brands helping it to take 4.8 percent of the market share. The company in September released the Yoga Tab 3 Pro, a premium entertainment tablet with an integrated projector, and in January lifted the curtain on the modular ThinkPad X1 tablet powered by Windows 10.

Despite its fourth-quarter decline, Lenovo’s tablet lineup grew 0.4 percent in 2015 overall from the previous year, and the company took 5.4 percent of the tablet market share.

3. Amazon Taps Low Price Points For Explosive Growth

Amazon’s inexpensive tablets exploded in popularity in the fourth quarter of 2015, helping the company grow its shipments 175.7 percent from the same quarter last year.

Amazon shipped 5.2 million tablets, taking 7.9 percent of the market share after its latest Kindle iteration gained traction through its low price point of $50.

Despite Amazon’s low price points -- its 7-inch Fire tablet costs $50 while the 7-inch Fire Kids Edition costs $100 -- IDC stressed that it is unlikely the Kindle’s success will continue in the remainder of the year. In 2015 overall, Amazon did not place in the top five tablet vendors for the year.

2. Samsung’s Tablet Portfolio Declines 18.1 Percent In Q4

Although it was the vendor with the second most tablet shipments in the fourth quarter, Samsung’s tablet business declined 18.1 percent from the same quarter last year.

The company took 13.7 percent market share in the fourth quarter, as it continued to tout an array of different price points and screen sizes. Despite its decline, IDC stressed that Samsung’s various tablet options will help facilitate the company’s transition from slate to detachable tablets in 2016. In January, Samsung also released its Galaxy TabPro S, a Windows 10 2-in-1 device, spearheading this movement.

In 2015 overall, Samsung tablet shipments declined 16 percent from 2014, and the company took 16.2 percent market share.

1. Apple Leads Tablet Market With iPad Pro

Apple’s newest tablet, the iPad Pro, a detachable tablet released in November, helped the Cupertino, Calif.-based company lead the global tablet market with 24.5 percent share.

Despite its reign over the other vendors, Apple’s tablet shipments continued to slide, falling by16.1 million shipments, or 24.8 percent, compared with the same quarter last year. According to IDC, Apple sold about 2 million iPad Pros, which was more than Microsoft’s 1.6 million competing Surface Pro detachable tablets sold.

In 2015 overall, Apple’s tablet shipments declined 21.8 percent from 2014, and the company retained 24 percent of the market share overall.