Tablet market stabilises due to 2-in-1 and commercial appeal

Latest IDC figures show channel that commercial demand for tablets and 2-in-1’s is on the up


The tablet market shows resilience as commercial demand increases and 2 in 1’s become a growth area worth watching for the channel.

Recent figures from IDC show the Western Europe tablet market stabilizing in Q2 2015 with total shipments shrinking by only 1.2% annually at 7.5 million units.

This is the softest decline since the downturn started at the beginning of 2014. It is thought to not only be down to increasing interest in 2 in 1’s and commercial use, but by a weak but persistent demand by consumers.

As reported in June by Microscope, the commercial market remains a draw for tablets, with shipments increasing by more than 50% compared to the same quarter of a year ago. Progress in the commercial adoption of tablets does differ across countries, but demand appears to be positive for both tablets and 2-in-1s, with each meeting varying business needs.

While the total drop in shipments in the quarter stabilized at 4.4% the growth for 2-in-1’s persisted at a massive 71%, and while the total volume remains relatively small at 7.3% of the total market, is significant

Daniel Goncalves, research analyst IDC EMEA Personal computing says “The interest in 2-in-1s that we observed in previous quarters is clearly materializing into corporate deployments and consumer purchases, especially among professionals and students.

“Growth in the area, however, was also driven by increased supply of models that arrived on the market as vendors improved or extended their portfolio and new entrants stepped into the market,” said Marta Fiorentini, senior research analyst, IDC EMEA Personal Computing.

“The most notable new 2-in-1 model is probably the Microsoft Surface 3, a smaller and more affordable version of Surface Pro 3, but other new 2-in-1s were introduced by well-established international players as well as several local or sub-regional vendors,” continued Fiorentini.

“The latter not only contributed to broaden the 2-in-1 offering but, thanks to the strength of their brand at a local level and the usually lower price points of their products, also helped boost the volume of the market for detachable devices, where their share jumped sequentially from below 1% to over 4%.”

The tablet vendor landscape remained clearly dominated by Apple and Samsung in Europe but the resurgence of the local champions participated in an evolving picture. Traditional smartphone vendors such as Huawei and Alcatel have also been steadily making progress, especially through the telco channel, by leveraging healthy demand for connected devices

Fiorentini continued: “Local and sub-regional vendors continued to play a key role in the tablet market, as their shipments contributed to some stabilization of the market,”

Compared to portable PCs, however, 2-in-1s still have a marginal presence across businesses in Western Europe and despite predictions from IDC that tablet growth will continue it would appear that more work needs to be done in terms of both performance and applications before 2 in 1’s enjoy a real surge in the commercial arena.

As reported by Microscope back in June, IDC expects the use of tablets and 2-in1 devices to more than double from the 6% adoption levels in corporates last year to 15% by 2018, which should provide the channel with revenue selling the hardware as well as the additional services.

The analyst house is expecting 40m tablets to be sold in the next five years, accounting for a quarter of all computing devices by 2019, adding to the 10m already in use in businesses across Western Europe.

“Unlike the PC market, which has gone through a consolidation phase, the tablet market seems to be undergoing a share redistribution phase, with country or sub-regional champions increasingly able to capture local demand,” said Chrystelle Labesque, research manager, EMEA Personal Computing.

As far as vendors go, Samsung experienced a double-digit rise in shipments due to good demand for several flagship models and favourable YoY comparison whereas Apple lost a few percentage points annually, owing to slow replacements of the vendor’s existing devices.

Lenovo’s growth flattened as the good response to its Windows products offset weak demand for Android devices and Asus’ shipments dived as the vendor prepares for the renewal of its product range.

Microsoft however entered the Top 5 vendor ranking thanks to good progress of Surface Pro 3 shipments and the introduction of the company’s latest 2-in-1 model, Surface 3.

The channel should be educating its customers in the different business advantages to be gained with the increase of new products entering the market and taking advantage of the differentials they bring.

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