Current state of the smartphone & tablet market

With the latest reports highlighting a drop in shipments for both types of tech, what is the current situation for the smartphone and tablet market, and is a recovery in sight?

A report from Strategy Analytic’s Connected Computing Devices service has revealed that tablet shipments dropped by 11.4million devices last year. International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker shows a similar picture – with figures demonstrating a 13.5% drop in the worldwide tablet market during the second quarter of 2018. This was the first time that the figure has reached double digits – after a 15-quarter strong downward spiral.

Huawei Growth Is Strong For Tablets

However, despite this downward trend, the tablet market is likely to recover. Several major players have been working hard to strengthen their offerings which in turn is forcing smaller players to either leave the market or up their own game. In the Strategy Analytics results, Apple, Huawei, and Microsoft all showed strong fourth quarters for tablet sales – with Apple shipping 14.5million units globally – up from 13.2million in the same quarter the previous year. Its total shipped figure of 44.9million devices (up from 2017’s figure of 43.8million) means it took the top spot with a market share of 25.8%. Samsung’s 32.1million global shipments in 2018, was a drop of 1.3million from 2017 but still saw it claim the second spot.

Huawei lead the way when it came to year-on-year tablet growth, posting an impressive 7.7% increase in an otherwise struggling market. Even Apple – who occupied the top spot for shipment volume – only managed a 0.9% growth, with Amazon suffering a hefty 33.5% decrease.

The interest in detachable tablets is giving hope to the struggling market. Up until recently, budget-friendly detachable tablets were hard to come by, so many consumers opted instead for traditional PCs. However, the launch of the Surface Go and a more affordable iPad Pro should all help improve sales figures across the board for this year.

Smartphones Sales Continue to Decline

Although several smartphone companies were successful in increasing their market share in 2018, the probability that the market continues to decline is very real. IDC identified a small number of high-growth markets like India, Korea, Vietnam, and Indonesia but overall there was little positive activity throughout the year.

With a fifth consecutive quarter of smartphone shipments on the decline, it is hard to see how the market may pick up going forward. Lengthened replacement cycles – a real option when you opt for a rugged device – political and economic unrest, along with an increase in penetration levels in larger markets are all helping to push sales down.

Despite the negative press Huawei has received of late it has done little to dent its sales – in 2018 it shipped 51.8million more smartphones than in 2017, driving up its market share. Also increasing their portion of the market were Xiaomi and Oppo, while Samsung and Apple both saw their yearly smartphone shipments decrease.

Conker is the British producer of Business Rugged smartphones, tablets, touch screens, and mobile devices. We provide companies with durable and reliable systems for successful digital transformation.

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