Tablets seen dying… as sales continue to fall

Tablet sales are steadily falling worldwide, according to figures from the IDC research center. Compared to the same period last year, the market recorded a decrease of 13.5%, representing about 5 million less tablets sold for manufacturers. The sector has been in decline for more than 15 quarters according to The Verge. Yet two brands manage to stand out: Apple and Huawei. They each succeed in increasing their sales by 0.9% and 7.7% respectively since last year. Conversely, manufacturers Samsung, Lenovo and Amazon have fallen drastically. The most significant example: Amazon sold 33.5% fewer units compared to the same period last year.

According to Jitesh Ubrani, a researcher for IDC: “The detachable tablet market is losing momentum, yet consumers and businesses are showing great interest in this format. With the arrival of Surface Go, detachable tablets with Chrome OS and hopefully, a cheaper iPad Pro, this market has a bright future.” Now, according to IDC, the only way to sell more tablets is that they work like computers.

Apple manages to remain stable thanks to the release at the beginning of the year of its latest iPad, which is somewhat cheaper. This new tablet has allowed the company to reach more consumers. In the same way, certain additions of functionality on iOS 11 are also aimed at seducing a very specific public: students. The applications Keynote, Pages or Numbers, which fully support the use of the Apple Pencil, were developed in order to impose a little more Apple’s tablet on the market of schools and universities. While the results of this strategy are still unknown, Cupertino nonetheless continues to dominate the market: more than one tablet out of three is an iPad. Huawei, meanwhile, has gained 7.7% market-share thanks to the Asian tablet market, which is not weakening. The latter represents more than 50% of Huawei’s sales according to IDC.

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For the other three manufacturers, the results are not good. Samsung manages to maintain its second place. But with many models in its line of non-renewed products, the Korean manufacturer has declined massively in sales. And its new S4 tablet announced for August 24 should not improve the figures very much in the next quarter, according to IDC. The Tab S4 will come out at a price of $650 for the cheapest model, a rather prohibitive price. However, with the announcement of the Tab A, which should be much cheaper, Samsung can hope to revive the race for tablets (but neither release date nor price are known).

Tablet sales at Lenovo also continue to fall slowly but surely. As with Samsung, the line of tablets is not renewed enough, despite the X1 Tablet scheduled for 2018. But Lenovo does not seek to expand its range and prefers to focus on the notebook market. Finally, the 33.5% drop in Amazon’s tablet sales can be explained by the fact that it has saturated the market by selling its tablets between $50 and $100. The manufacturer has managed to crush the competition, but today the customer who wanted an ultra-affordable tablet already has one of the models of Amazon, like the Fire 7.

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Shakes Gilles

Editor of The Talking Democrat. He enjoys bike riding, kayaking and playing soccer. On a slow weekend, you'll find him with a book by the lake.