Tablet sales are at their lowest level in the UK for four years, with each of the big manufacturers posting dramatic declines.
According to media data company IDC, sales dropped overall by 13% in the last quarter of 2017, with Apple, Samsung and Amazon all posting big losses.
Only China’s Huawei saw a bump, mainly due to the success of the mid-market MediaPad 3, retailing at around £210 and promising crystal-clear audio from Harman Kardon speakers, as well as an unfussy setup and app selection.
No longer shiny and new
Portable, pocket-powered, in single slate form or detatchable, the appetite for tablets is clearly on the wane.
Apple remains the biggest tablet seller in western Europe, with a market share just shy of 25%.
Sales of the detatchable iPad Pro won them sales this past year especially in the consumer and prosumer markets.
Most buyers are replacing smaller laptops and low-powered notebooks with keyboard-enabled iPads, analysis shows.
“This is a trend we observe across the whole device spectrum, where consumers are increasingly willing to invest more to obtain better user experiences, and to be able to enhance their device’s longevity,” said IDC senior research analyst Daniel Goncalves.
Slate tablets, those with a single screen, are plummeting in popularity. Sales dropped an alarming 15.4% as business uses drop and they are mostly for watching films or Netflix.
Detachable tablets by contrast are slowing down but top-end devices that last are more likely to sell than cheapo efforts by smaller brands.
Selling less, making more
“Profitability is increasingly becoming the focus among the most important tablet manufacturers,” said Goncalves.
“The performance of Apple and Samsung, the two main players in the Western European market,
together representing over 40% of all tablet shipments, reflects the increasing concern for value
over volume. Both posted double-digit growth in revenue, despite the single-digit declines
Samsung is ranked second with a market share of just under 20%. Despite a 5% drop in sales, a solid performance from their higher-priced premium Android tablets has seen profits rise.
Amazon ranked third with a market share of 9.1%, and IDC said steep discounts around the holiday seasons and the inclusion of the Alexa voice assistant, led to very strong sales.