Earlier this month market research and analysis firm, IDC (International Data Corporation), came out with its detailed study regarding the state of the global tablet market. The report made it amply clear that the category had just experienced its fifth consecutive quarter of decline in Q4, 2015, with shipments of about 65.9 million units, which represented a 13.7 percent YoY de-growth for the category. Now, it is the turn of Taiwanese publication, Digitimes, to release its own research report, which pretty much gives out the same set of numbers, thereby corroborating the earlier report from IDC about the sorry state of the global tablet market. According to the latest report, the global tablet market accounted for only 65.34 million units during the quarter, which is a decline of 13.8 percent from the same period in 2014.
For those looking for any positives in the persistently disappointing numbers being thrown up by the tablet industry, the one sliver of hope seems to be the 23.9 percent sequential increase in the number of slates sold during the year-ending quarter, thanks largely to the uptake of inexpensive slates in the US during the period. Then again it was the holiday gift-giving season, during which sales of most consumer electronics often see a spike at any rate. As for individual vendors, Apple continues to remain on top, with its iPad Air 2 outselling the pricey iPad Pro with 16.1 million units shipped during the quarter, but the company's market share still fell from 28.1 percent to 24.5 percent during the quarter on a Year-on-Year basis, as per IDC. Meanwhile, it is the Android and Windows tablets which made the biggest move during the quarter, thanks largely to the $50 Kindle Fire from Amazon and detachable tablets from a number of vendors globally.
One by-product of the runaway success of the $50 Kindle Fire and other such low-cost devices from tier-1 brands was the downturn in the fortunes of white box vendors. According to Digitimes, these companies suffered yet another quarter of diminished sales, with shipments of 20.3 million units representing a decline of "nearly 5 percent" as compared to Q3, 2015. Samsung also didn't have the best of quarters, but Huawei translated its stellar success in the smartphone sector into the tablet industry, going past Asus in the process as one of the preeminent tablet vendors in the world. Contract manufacturers like Foxconn and Compal, too, saw strong growth during the quarter, thanks in large parts to the success of Apple and Amazon on two completely different ends of the tablet spectrum. While Foxconn makes the iPad Pro and iPad Air, Compal is entrusted with manufacturing the iPad Mini 2 and the Amazon Fire 7.