Tablet Shipments Continue Dropping Even As Users Warm Up to Detachables


Lenovo may have been kicked out of the global top 5 smartphone vendors list but it is still top elsewhere. The Chinese consumer electronics brand was the fourth largest tablet vendor in the world in the first quarter of 2016 according to the IDC. Even then, its tablet shipments in Q1 2016 dropped marginally to 2.2 million units down from 2.5 million units same time last year despite a point increase in market share from 5.4% last year to 5.5% this year.

Lenovo’s mixed fortunes are as a result of an industry-wide trend that IDC predicts will continue for the next few years.

The tablet has seen its best days and if trends from the last one year are anything to go by, it looks like no amount of new tablets and features will entice users to shop for tablets as was the case say 3 years ago. The rise of large-screen smartphones, often referred to as phablets, may have played some role in this but total user disinterest in the segment may be to blame for the change in fortune for the tablet.

It is not all doom and gloom, though. There are some positives. There is a shift in user preferences when it comes to the tablet. While the traditional slate tablet may never recover its hold of the mobile device market, detachables like Microsoft’s Surface tablets and Samsung’s Galaxy TabPro S are highly favoured by customers. Of the nearly 40 million tablets shipped in Q1 2016, almost 5 million units were detachable tablets.

Even then, that was still not enough to get Microsoft to the top 5 tablet vendors in the world in Q1 2016. With no new Surface tablets planned for launch soon, that may prove to be even harder going forward. However, Microsoft is on to something with the Surface range of tablets and that could be just what it needs to get its device swag back on.

Overall, Apple’s long-time domination of the tablet market continues even as the future of the iPad looks bleak today more than ever before. Samsung leads the pack of Android and Windows tablet makers with the IDC saying that its Galaxy Tabs are some of the last remaining premium Android slates. Amazon’s Kindles which run a forked version of Android place it third. The American e-commerce giant which rides on sales of its tablets to push products like eBooks, applications, music, video and other content to users, shipped 2.2 million units in Q1 2016 just like fourth-placed Lenovo. Lenovo’s compatriot Huawei rounds up the top 5 list with 2.1 million units to grant it over 5% market share.

Here are the specifics:



Source: IDC