WHEN THE ONE consolation you can offer nervous investors after 16 quarters of year-on-year sales decline is "well, at least it wasn't double figures this time", you're probably not looking at a healthy industry. And that's exactly how the tablet sector looked in Q3 2018, as it fell by 8.6 per cent year-on-year.
The top line note is that only Huawei has real reason to be cheerful. Of the 36.4 million sold in Q3 (down from 39.9 million a year ago), 3.2 million of them had the Huawei logo on - up 7.1% from Q3 2017.
That puts the Chinese giant in fourth place overall, with 8.9 per cent of the market. Above it, Amazon shifted 4.4 million tablets (down 0.4 per cent), Samsung 5.3 million (down 11.4 per cent) and Apple 9.7 million (down 6.1 per cent.) The fact that Apple was able to lose 600,000 sales and still gain a 0.7 percentage share of the market says it all.
"The tablet market is more like the traditional PC market than ever before," said IDC's Jitesh Ubrani. "Not only do these markets move in sync with each other, but the decreasing margins and overall decline, particularly in slate tablets, has led to the top five companies capturing a larger share as many small vendors have exited the space or simply treat the tablet market with a much lower priority.
"Even among the top five, it is essentially Apple and to a lesser extent Samsung that continue to invest heavily in product innovation and marketing. This has helped the two companies to set themselves apart from the rest."
Of course, Apple just announced new iPad Pros - and given they start at £769, you'd imagine the company will be very happy at the profits they bring in. Whether they do more than allow Apple to gobble up more of an ever-shrinking market is less obvious. µ
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