The tablet market has now declined year-over-year for 16 quarters straight. Q3 2018 saw an 8.6 percent year-over-year decline: 36.4 million units shipped worldwide, compared to 39.9 million units in the same quarter last year.
The only silver lining is that the Q3 2018 decline wasn’t double digits again. While 2017 quarters only saw single-digit declines, Q1 2018 and Q2 2018 were in the double digits.
The estimates come from IDC, which counts both slate form factors and detachables, meaning tablets with keyboards included. Apple maintained its top spot for the quarter, with Samsung and Amazon rounding out the top three.
Huawei was the only company in the top five to ship more tablets than the year before. The top five vendors accounted for 68.4 percent of the market, up from 67.1 percent last year:
Apple’s shipment numbers were down by 600,000, but that still translated into a slight 0.7 percentage point gain (from 25.9 percent to 26.6 percent), as the overall tablet market declined so much. The company was able to maintain its lead partly thanks to this year’s iPad. The new iPad Pro announced this week should help it going into Q4.
Samsung shipped 700,000 fewer tablets than in the quarter a year ago and ended up losing 0.7 points of market share (from 15.0 percent to 14.6 percent). The company’s slate models declined more than its detachable shipments could accommodate. It looks like the new Galaxy Tab S4 and Galaxy Tab A 10.5 didn’t make much of a dent.
Amazon shipped slightly fewer tablets (around 4.4 million), which turned into a 1.0-point gain of market share (from 11.0 percent to 12.0 percent), plus a move into third place. IDC says the gains were due to strong Prime Day sales. Rounding out the top five, Huawei shipped 200,000 more tablets, gaining 1.3 points, and Lenovo shipped 800,000 fewer tablets, losing 1.4 points.
The replacement cycle for tablets is still closer to that of traditional PCs than smartphones, and 2018 hasn’t been able to change that. Apple and Microsoft’s attempts with detachable tablets are not having a massive impact (yet?).
“The detachable market has failed to see growth in 2018, a worrying trend that has plagued the category off and on since the end of 2016,” IDC research analyst Lauren Guenveur said in a statement. “In October, we finally saw the highly anticipated refreshes of Apple’s iPad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface Pro, as well as new products by Samsung and Google, which lead us to believe that the last quarter of the year will turn the detachable category around, at least for the time being. Increasingly sparse are new products by the top-tier PC OEMs as they remain more focused on their convertible portfolio, a move that will ultimately affect the overall trajectory of the detachable market going forward.”