The tablet market recorded lower global shipments for the fourth straight quarter.
According to preliminary stats from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, 48.7 million units shipped in the third quarter of 2015 (3Q15).
“Despite signs of a slight seasonal improvement, shipments were down -12.6 percent year over year, further highlighting the challenges the tablet market is facing,” noted IDC.
Now that mature markets like North America, Western Europe, and Asia/Pacific have passed 100 million active tablets per region, the opportunities for growth are slim.
“We continue to get feedback that tablet users are holding onto devices upwards of four years,” said Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers. “We believe the traditional slate tablet has a place in the personal computing world. However, as the smartphone installed base continues to grow and the devices get bigger and more capable, the need for smaller form factor slate tablets becomes less clear. With shipment volumes slowing over four consecutive quarters, the market appears to be in transition.”
The industry does, however, see growing interest in detachable tablets. IDC expects this share to increase dramatically over the next 18 months.
“The first generation of detachable tablets failed to gain much traction, as they represented a series of compromises in terms of both operating system and hardware that few consumers or businesses were willing to accept,” said Tom Mainelli, Program Vice President, Devices & Displays at IDC. “The devices shipping now represent a clear evolution of both OS and hardware, and it’s our expectation that both home and pro users will begin to embrace the form factor in larger numbers going forward.”
The IDC report contains highlights on major vendors, including Apple, which still holds the top position in the worldwide tablet market.
“The impending launch of the iPad Pro may serve as a silver lining as the market shifts towards productivity-enabling devices,” reported IDC.
To see more details from the IDC tablet tracker, click here.