Double digit growth by 3 of top 5 vendors as global tablet shipments hit 45 million units

According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global tablet shipments grew 2% quarterly to reach 45 million units in Q3 2017. Apple maintained first position with 23 percent global tablet market share, while Samsung fell to 13% share.

Huawei was the star performer, with a continued run of 4 years of annual growth in tablet shipments. The new “Preliminary Global Tablet Shipments and Market Share: Q3 2017” report from Strategy Analytics’ Tablet & Touchscreen Strategies (TTS) service offers perspective on what is driving these results and how industry players can revitalise remaining soft spots in the market.

The full report with detailed market breakdown is available here.

Eric Smith, director – Tablets and Touchscreens said, “Global tablet shipments declined 5 percent annually from 46.9 million units in Q3 2016 to 44.6 million in Q3 2017, but grew 2% quarter on quarter from 43.7 million in Q2 2017. The global tablet market has reduced the high negative growth rates of the past couple of years and Apple just strung together two straight quarters of year-on-year growth.

Exhibit 1: Global tablet vendor shipments and market share in Q3 2017

During Q3 2017, Huawei and Amazon also kept up their pace of strong gains in their respective corners of the Android market, while Lenovo bounced back to positive growth with good footing in the Android and Windows segments. Windows tablet demand is experiencing a slump overall, compared to this time last year as consumer market pricing and marketing have failed to connect to consumers while enterprise demand is still swift for pricier 2-in-1 tablet form factors.”

Peter King, director – Devices Practice added, “Apple shipped 10.3 million Tablets worldwide in Q3 2017, rising an impressive 11% annually from 9.3 million in Q3 2016 and unit sales rose 25% year-over-year in Greater China and 39% in India.

Huawei maintained third position with 7% global tablet market share in Q3 2017, up from 5 percent in Q3 2016. Huawei continues to close in fast on Samsung, although the latter has just fewer than 13% market share in Q3 2017. If Huawei were able to penetrate the US market where it currently ships a single digit percentage of its total shipments, then it would become a major force in the tablet market.

Lenovo continued steady progress in the tablet market shipping 3 million units in Q3 2017; Lenovo is focusing on a higher-value product portfolio and de-emphasising lower-value offerings. Amazon reported record sales of its Fire tablets during the July Prime Day promotion early in Q3 2017. During the quarter, Amazon tablet shipments were 25% higher year-on-year at 2.5 million units. This resulted in Amazon’s market share rising 1.3 points during the same period to 5.6%.”

Tablet market dynamics by operating system

  • Apple iOS shipments (sell-in) came in above projections at 10.3 million iPads in Q3 2017, pushing its worldwide market share to 23% of the Tablet market. This represented an 11% increase annually but a 10% decline from last quarter’s high. Apple is pulling off a dual strategy of growing overall market share on low cost slates with new pricing on the 9.7-inch standard iPad while also growing premium iPad Pro sales, which is why ASPs were higher quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year at $468.
  • Android shipments fell to 27.8 million units worldwide in Q3 2017, down 8% from 29.9 million a year earlier and up 5% sequentially. Market share also fell year-on-year by 2 percentage points to 62% as the receding influence of White Box vendors takes a severe toll on the market and branded Android vendors have been unable to fully reclaim this lost volume. Apple’s recent surge with lower prices on standard slates also plays into this change in market share.
  • Windows shipments fell 14% year-on-year at 6.7 million units in Q3 2017, from 7.7 million in Q3 2016. Shipments increased 13% sequentially. As a result, Windows market share fell by one percentage point to 15% year-on-year. From a market share point of view, this segment will not show fast growth again until there are more serious tablet options in the mid to low tiers.

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