The latest research from Strategy Analytics showed that several major vendors had very happy holidays in 2018, and Samsung posted its first global quarterly shipment growth since 2014. Apple, Huawei, and Microsoft also had excellent fourth quarters and all three vendors showed growth for the full year as the tablet market shows signs of recovery. Global Tablet market shipments contracted 1% in Q4 2018 and ended the year 6% lower at 173.8 million units.
Eric Smith, director of connected computing at Strategy Analytics said: “The tablet market may be on the road to recovery as several major vendors have strengthened their hand in 2018, cannibalizing market share from weaker players and forcing some to consolidate or leave the market entirely. Lower Slate prices and a more fragmented Detachable 2-in-1 market play into this recovery as vendors are reaching a broader range of computing needs, just as the foldable tablet/phone makes its debut.”
Chirag Upadhyay, senior research analyst at Strategy Analytics said: “We are in the middle of a PC refresh cycle and it is crucial that Detachable 2-in-1 vendors recognize this as a big opportunity to shift the market toward more mobile, portable computing solutions. Better pricing, partnerships, and marketing strategies from leading industry players will be necessary to make this happen as diversity in form factors and OS ecosystems expands. Windows shipments fell 4% year-on-year to 7.1 million units in Q4 2018 from 7.3 million in Q4 2017. Microsoft shipments increased 25% from the previous quarter on high seasonality and as a result, it has retaken its leadership position in Windows Detachable 2-in-1s with the release of the lower cost Surface Go and a refreshed Surface Pro all in the last half of 2018. This is the fourth straight quarter of year-on-year shipment and revenue gains for Microsoft.”
Smith said: “Apple iOS shipments grew 10% year-on-year to 14.5 million units in Q4 2018, pushing its worldwide market share to 26% of the Tablet market. By growing double digits, Apple added 2 percentage points to its market share year-over-year. Apple is attempting to remake the computing market with more mobile iPad Pros for productivity while offering lower priced iPad slates for entertainment. The product mix tilted toward iPad Pro due to the launch of its newest products in that line and boosted ASPs to $463 this quarter from $445 in 2017. Meanwhile, Android shipments fell to 32.9 million units worldwide in Q4 2018, down 6% from 34.9 million a year earlier and up 35% sequentially. Market share fell 3 percentage points year-on-year to 60% as many branded Android vendors find it very difficult to compete on price in the wake of Apple lowering its iPad prices. The slate market is particularly sensitive to price and the Android segment is dominated by Slate models.”
The full report from Strategy Analytics’ Connected Computing Devices (CCD) service, Preliminary Global Tablet Shipments and Market Share: Q4 2018 Results, can be found here.