Tablet Sales Fall Yet Again But Detachables Offer Hope

Apple maintains lead ahead of Samsung but “general disinterest” harms sales, even if detachables are growing in popularity

Tablet sales have fallen yet again, this time by 14.7 percent, according to figures from IDC that claim 39.6 million units were sold during the first three months of 2016.

The research firm said that a post-Christmas lull, combined with “an overall disinterested customer base” helped contribute to the ongoing decline in tablet shipments

Portable replacements

surface pro 4 reviewApple maintained its status as the world’s leading tablet manufacturer with 25.9 percent of the market, shifting 10.3 million units. Its most recent device was the business-focused iPad Pro, but this could not stop the company’s shipments falling by 18.8 percent.

Despite a 28.1 percent year-on-year fall in sales to six million, Samsung secured second place overall with 15.2 percent of the market, ahead of Amazon, which enjoyed a remarkable 5,421 percent increase in sales with its Fire range

The one bright spot for a contracting market was a huge growth in detachable tablet devices such as Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4, which can be connected to accessories such as keyboards to turn them into a working device.

IDC reported a triple-digit year-over-year growth on shipments to total more than 4.9 million units – a record for a single quarter. HP, Samsung and even Huawei have all released detachable devices in recent times, which offer greater portability than conventional laptops.

Changing trends

Analysts suggest this trend could be a boon for Windows 10 and the entry of mobile manufacturers could pose a significant threat to PC makers.

“With the PC industry in decline, the detachable market stands to benefit as consumers and enterprises seek to replace their ageing PCs with detachables,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior analyst at IDC.

“Apple’s recent foray into this segment has garnered them an impressive lead in the short term, although continued long-term success may prove challenging as a higher entry price point staves off consumers and iOS has yet to prove its enterprise-readiness, leaving plenty of room for Microsoft and their hardware partners to re-establish themselves.”

Recent research from Ofcom found that one in six (16 percent) adults in the UK now only use smartphones or tablets to go online, a ten percent increase on 2015’s figure.

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