Tablet Market Falls 7 Percent in Q1 2018 while Top Vendors Play to Strengths

Apple, Huawei, Amazon, and Lenovo showed higher shipments year-on-year; are Samsung, Asus, and Acer pivoting toward laptop market?

Apple and Amazon have made a focused effort on achieving greater tablet shipments at lower hardware prices in order to support their lucrative services revenue. Huawei has found success in the connected tablet market where other mobile-first companies still struggle to achieve such high rates of cellular attach rates.

Even still, the tablet market declined 7% year-on-year in Q1 2018 as Android and Windows tablet and 2-in-1 shipments weighed the market down, according to the new “Preliminary Global Tablet Shipments and Market Share: Q1 2018” report from Strategy Analytics’ newly expanded Connected Computing Devices (CCD) service.

Four of the Top Five Vendors Showed Year-on-Year Growth in Q1 2018

Eric SmithDirector – Connected Computing said, “The Windows 2-in-1 market is in for a tumultuous year as new and improved options for productivity come into focus around Always Connected PCs and 2-in-1s utilizing ARM-based processors and LTE connectivity, new Chrome OS options among Detachable 2-in-1s, and usability improvements for the iPad Pro. This is big area of opportunity hasten replacement cycles for mobile and connected computing devices like tablets and laptops.” He added, “One recent market development to watch out for is how political and regulatory instability affects competitive factors. Will we see more pressure for Chinese companies to back away from Western markets like the US with new vendors taking their place or will an understanding be reached wherein Huawei expands its footprint into the US?”

Chirag Upadhyay, Senior Analyst added, “Leading vendors are bouncing back with new hardware and value-added features such as improved stylus capabilities, AR, and digital assistants to support new use cases and double down on their appeal consumer and enterprise markets. Our interactions with computing devices are rapidly changing and companies like Apple, Amazon, and Huawei are staying ahead of the curve with targeted product improvements.”

Tablet Market Dynamics by Operating System

  • Apple iOS shipments (sell-in) grew 2% year-on-year to 9.1 million units in Q1 2018, pushing its worldwide market share to 23.4% of the Tablet market. This represented a 31% sequential decrease due to strong performance of previous quarter. Education still represents a good opportunity for Apple as schools often have PCs and tablets available for different use cases. Accordingly, Apple timed its basic iPad with Apple Pencil refresh in Q2 2018, right before the school buying season.
  • Android shipments fell to 24.2 million units worldwide in Q1 2018, down 10% from 26.9 million a year earlier and 31% sequentially after strong seasonality last quarter. Huawei, Amazon, and Lenovo are some of the only Android vendors showing positive growth right now while Samsung, Asus, and Acer are struggling to fully turn around their Android business on a shipments basis. Samsung seems satisfied with modestly lower Android tablet shipments if it means that they make a healthy profit, whereas Asus and Acer are pivoting more sharply toward Windows 2-in-1s and laptops and away from Android.
  • Windows shipments fell 9% year-on-year to 5.7 million units in Q1 2018 from 6.3 million in Q1 2017. Shipments declined 22% from the holiday quarter. Most Windows tablet and 2-in-1 vendors are targeting the premium tier for enterprise users to make higher profits but not all vendors can reap these benefits in such a crowded market. Microsoft’s new Surface Pro devices have not given the market the kind of boost that previous generations have garnered. Even still, Microsoft showed its first quarter of double-digit year-on-year growth since Q3 2016.

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