Is Apple Leading or Following the Tablet Market Down?
It’s not only Apple (AAPL) that struggling with shrinking tablet shipments, it’s the whole market that’s continuing to recede, according to the latest figures from researcher IDC showing a 7 percent decline from last year in Q2 to 44.7 million units worldwide, low-lighted by a 4 percent downturn just from last quarter.
Two weeks ago, tablet bellwether Apple said shipments of its iconic iPad had fallen to 10.9 million units, an 18 percent unit sales tumble and a 23 percent revenue downturn from the same time last year. When compared to the 12.6 million iPads Apple shipped in Q2 2015, unit sales fell 13 percent and revenue slipped 16 percent in FQ3.
Analysts expected Apple to sell about 10 million iPad units for the quarter, give or take, so the vendor wasn’t that far off.
Still, nagging questions about the overall market persist, made even more neon bright by IDC’s latest tablet shipment report.
Is Apple leading or following the market downward? Has the iPad reached its sales apex or is there still a spark out there to catalyze sales of the platform back to its glory days? What, if anything, can spark overall tablet sales?
According to IDC, an absence of technological innovation and lack of portfolio updates continues to hamper tablet sales.
“Beyond the decline, we’re seeing a profound shift in the vendor landscape as the top two vendors, Apple and Samsung, lose share in the overall market,” said Jean Philippe Bouchard, IDC Research Director for Tablets.
Behind Apple, Samsung held second place in the market with 7.6 million units shipped and 17 percent market share, while Lenovo held third with 2.5 million units and 5.7 percent stake, IDC said. Huawei and LG each shipped 1.6 million devices in Q2 with the former credited with a 3.7 percent market share and the latter a 3.6 percent position.
According to IDC’s figures, vendors outside the top five generated 46 percent of total tablet shipments in Q2.
Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst, IDC Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers senior research analyst, said new form factor such as 2-in-1s and upgraded productivity features in tablets could revitalize the segment.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook also believes that consumer enthusiasm for the iPad–and, by implication, tablets in general–will return. Cook said on the vendor’s recent FQ3 earnings call that the “iPad consumer upgrade cycle will eventually occur, because as we look at the usage statistics on iPad, it remains unbelievably great…It’s not like people have forgotten iPad or anything, it’s a fantastic product.”
In Apple’s case, an uptick in iPad consumer sales may result from the vendor’s long-rumored, 12.9-inch iPad Pro tablet–which also could fuel enterprise sales of the tablet–but what about the remainder of the market?
Right now, there’s no answers.