February 1, 2016 Last Updated 3:57 pm

Tablet market falls 13.7% in Q4 of 2015, according to IDC report

The tablet market continues to decline according to a new data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. Just last week Apple reported that its iPad sales were 16.122 million, the eighth straight quarter that the company reported lower tablets sales than the year prior.

The one bright spot in the report was detachable devices, which sold 8.1 million devices in Q4 of 2015.

“This quarter was unique as we had new detachable in the market from all three of the major platform players,” said Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst at IDC. “Despite lukewarm reviews, the iPad Pro was the clear winner this season as it was the top selling detachable, surpassing notable entries from Microsoft and other PC vendors. It’s also important to note that the transition towards detachable tablets has presented positive opportunities for both Apple and Microsoft. However, Google’s recent foray into this space has been rather lackluster as the Android platform will require a lot more refinement to achieve any measurable success.”


“One of the biggest reasons why detachables are growing so fast is because end users are seeing those devices as PC replacements,” said Jean Philippe Bouchard, Research Director, Tablets at IDC. “We believe Apple sold just over two million iPad Pros while Microsoft sold around 1.6 million Surface devices, a majority of which were Surface Pro and not the more affordable Surface 3. With these results, it’s clear that price is not the most important feature considered when acquiring a detachable – performance is.”

IDC claims that Apple was able “to curb the decline in iPad revenues” through selling the more expensive iPad Pro this last quarter, but I’m not sure the numbers released by Apple really back up that claim. According to Apple, unit sales fell 25 percent year over year, while revenue was down 21 percent. That shows that selling a few more expensive iPads helped a bit, but not much.

When it comes to pure unit market share, Amazon was the big winner thanks to selling low priced Kindles. Its share grew 175 percent in Q4, though they still rank third at 7.9 percent of the market.

Apple still leads at 24.5 percent of unit sales, with Samsung second at 13.7 percent.

IDC tracked 65.9 million tablets sold in Q4, down 13.7 percent from the 76.4 million units sold in 2015. This holiday season was slightly condensed from the prior year, and though Apple had the new iPad Pro to sell, it did not upgrade its iPad Air model, though there is talk of a new model being introduced in March.

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