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Tablet market falls further on shift in consumer habits


A man looks at second-hand tablet computers on display outside an electronics store in the Akihabara District of Tokyo on Feb. 9.

Photo: Bloomberg

The tablet craze from a few years ago showed more signs of fading this year, with most major producers reporting sales declines, market surveys showed on Thursday.

This was the 10th straight quarterly decline for tablets, International Data Corp (IDC) said.

IDC reported an 8.5 percent drop in global tablet shipments to 36.2 million.

A separate survey by Strategy Analytics pegged the decline for the quarter at 10 percent.

IDC analyst Ryan Reith said the sizzling growth in tablets from 2010 to 2013 following the launch of the first iPad is now history and that many consumers are finding they can do without tablets, relying instead on smartphone or new, slimmer laptops.

“The rate at which the tablet market grew from 2010 to 2013 was unlike many other consumer-oriented device markets we’ve seen before,” Reith said.

“However, it appears for many reasons consumers became less eager to refresh these devices, or in some instances purchase them at all. We continue to believe the leading driver for this was the increased dependency on smartphones, along with rather minimal technology and form factor progression,” he said.

IDC said Apple Inc led the market with a 24.6 percent share in first quarter, despite a 13 percent sales drop.

Samsung Electronics Co sales fell 1.1 percent, but retained the No. 2 spot at 16.5 percent.

China’s Huawei Technologies Co (華為) was the only major vendor to show growth — reporting a 31.7 percent jump, garnering a 7.4 percent share, after introducing new “detachable” tablets powered by Microsoft Corp’s Windows, IDC said.

IDC estimated that Inc, which does not report detailed sales figures, sold 2.2 million tablets for a 6 percent market share, a drop of 1.8 percent.

Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) held the No. 5 spot with a market share of 5.7 percent for the Chinese electronics giant, according to IDC.

Strategy Analytics, which reported similar market shares, said the growth had evaporated for Microsoft and its Surface tablets after a number of strong quarters.

“Sales performance for Windows tablets has been fantastic over the last several years, but the hero of this segment is missing in action,” Strategy Analytics’ Eric Smith said.

The Strategy Analytics survey found that sales of Windows tablets, which include Microsoft Surface devices, fell 2 percent from a year earlier to 6.3 million units, which gave the operating system a market share of 15 percent.

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