Regardless of the numbers for individual manufacturers, worldwide shipping figures have decreased from 2016, falling from 174.9 million units shipped to 163.5 million units shipped in 2017. Meanwhile, slates (those good ol' tablets), sold around 43.1 million units in Q4 and a total of 41.7 million for the whole year.
Apple was the market leader in this category, IDC said, maintaining a solid lead in the holiday quarter and driving growth both through its lower-priced 9.7in iPad as well as its newly refreshed iPad Pro products. Apple shipped 13.2 million iPads from October through December past year, accounting for a market share of 26.6 percent, according to the latest data from IDC. Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets registered an impressive growth of 50.3% year-on-year for the quarter.
On the bright side, the worldwide detachable tablet market (systems with removable keyboards) grew to 6.5 million units in the fourth quarter, a year-over-year increase of 10.3 percent. Cupertino's focus on the iPad Pro should continue this year.
While last-year IDC blamed "cheap" slabs for the ongoing tablet sales slump, the analyst outfit said this week that tablets have been "largely relegated to simple media consumption devices" as they don't offer much in the way of productivity.
When it comes to Samsung, the report says that while shipments of its detachable portfolio continued to rise, the declines in its slate models outweighed the gains. As its lower-cost Tab A and E series is challenged by vendors promising better value, Samsung will face a particular challenge in upgrading its base to both a higher-priced and detachable device. Samsung managed to stay at the second position with 24.9 million units shipped (6.4 percent year-over-year decline), while Amazon sold 16.7 million units (38.0 percent year-over-year growth).
According to statistics from analyst firm IDC, tablet shipments fell by 6.5 percent (from 174.9 to 163.5 million units) a year ago, continuing a trend of annual double-digit decreases since 2016.