Tablet shipments have been on an upward trend over the course of Q3 2018, rising by 21.1-percent to 44.89 million units worldwide for that period and by 6.1-percent year-over-year, according to the most recent report from Digitimes Research. As of the most recent figures, 10-inch-rated tablets also represent the most common tablets across the board due in part to the proliferation of smartphones in the 6-inch or larger category. By the ratio of tablets shipped, the smaller category remained relatively flat at 15-percent while 10-inch tablets and larger are currently predicted to grow to above 40-percent moving into 2019. Currently, the figures for those are down, coming in below 30-percent and expected to remain that way through the remainder of the year. That's said to be at least in part as a result of an upward tick in Amazon's 7-inch and 8-inch Fire-branded tablets - which is likely caused by an increase in overall shopping activity on the company's site for the holiday shopping season.
Background: Tablet sales have, in fact, been on the decline for quite some time, with Digitimes Research forecasting a year-over-year drop of 10-percent in shipments for 2018 near the end of last year. As with the general downward trend for the market now, declines prior to that prediction were also centered primarily around an increase in screen sizes seen on Android flagships and other smartphones. Despite the fact that many tablet-manufacturers have increased the size of their offerings in the meantime, however, that trend doesn't appear to be abating. The implication seems to be that larger tablets still can't compete simultaneously with laptops and similar devices while, at the same time, they're no longer portable enough to contend directly with smartphones for consumers' attention. There is still a niche in the market for the devices but growth in terms of consumer appeal has remained stagnant.
On the other side of the Android market, smartphone shipments actually trended in the opposite direction for Q3 2018, according to the latest report from global market intelligence firm International Data Corporation (IDC). In total, the quarter saw declines of around 6-percent over the same period last year with the total figures coming in at around 355.2 million units shipped. Although both Xiaomi and Huawei say increases other major manufacturers saw sharp decreases instead. Those companies' gained at around 32.9-percent and 21.2 percent year-over-year, equating to 34.3 million units and 52 million units shipped globally. By contrast, Samsungs shipments for its own smartphones came in at around 72.2 million units - a decline of more than 13-percent from the previous year's 83.3 million units moved.
Impact: With that said, the current upturn for tablet hardware should not be relied upon to continue, the firm says, since the holiday season is the likely culprit behind the increase amidst an ongoing downward trend overall. By the end of Q4, shipments are expected to fall by 2.3-percent following a sharp decline in off-branded tablets after the holidays. For branded tablets, shipments have a slightly better outlook, with the top companies matching expectations and growing by 15-percent from the third quarter - down from 29.9-percent in the prior quarter.