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Businesses Giving Tablets a New Lease on Life

Shipments in Western Europe up quarter over quarter for second straight time following a dismal 2016

August 17, 2017 | Mobile

The decline in tablet shipments in Western Europe slowed noticeably for the second consecutive quarter in Q2 2017, according to International Data Corporation (IDC) figures. The firm described the trend as “an almost complete recovery of the market.”

Overall tablet shipments in the region were down 0.5% year over year for the quarter, with a total of 7.0 million devices shipped. The nearly flat result was an improvement from the 1.7% year-over-year drop in shipments seen in Q1 2017.

More notably, both quarters were a marked turnaround from 2016, when tablet shipments declined by at least 10% in three of the year’s quarters. In Q3 2016, shipments still saw a year-over-year decline of 7.0%—the smallest of the year.

The reversal was aided by the release of new Apple iPad and iPad Pro models, which helped slow the decline in slate tablet shipments to 1.0% vs. a year ago, according to IDC. Detachable tablets like Samsung’s new Galaxy Book buoyed the market further, with shipments of devices with removeable keyboards up 1.0% year over year in Q2.

With 1.9 million units shipped, Apple accounted for 27.0% of tablets distributed in Western Europe, making it the region’s market leader. That was up from 24.0% during the same period last year. Second-place Samsung also saw an increase in market share to 23.4%, with its number of shipments rising 8.6% vs. Q2 2016.

China’s Lenovo and Huawei boosted their shares of the market to 8.9% and 3.9%, respectively. But Amazon’s share dipped by half a point as shipments of its devices (not counting epaper-based ereaders) declined 11.1% year over year.

Tablet Shipments in Western Europe, by Brand, Q2 2016 & Q2 2017 (thousands, % change and % of total)

With a solidly consumer-focused product lineup, Amazon’s decline hints at tablets’ changing place in the digital device ecosystem. According to IDC, shipments of commercial tablets saw a year-over-year increase of 2.8% during the quarter.

“Detachables are showing particularly strong growth within the corporate business, facilitated by the introduction of more commercially oriented models,” said Liam Hall, IDC research analyst for personal computing devices in Western Europe. “These models are geared toward operating primarily as a portable PC with the secondary benefit of a tablet, helping to compete against the growing commercial trend toward the adoption of convertibles.”

The US tablet market is seeing a similar shift. Detachables’ share of US tablet shipments was projected to rise to 19.9% in 2016, according to Canalys. The firm also forecast that detachables will capture a 24.5% share of the US market this year, and a 34.8% share by 2020.

—Cliff Annicelli

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