Apple leads in key countries even as the tablet market falls another 11%

Whatever happened to the post-PC era with tablets slowing replacing traditional personal computers? Tablet shipments continued to decline in the second quarter of 2015, falling 11% year on year to 42.5 million units, although Apple's iPad still dominates, according to the Canalys research group.

The top five countries accounted for half the world’s tablet shipments and Apple led in all but one, Brazil. The Cupertino, California-based company is well placed to continue leading the market for the time being.

After three years of explosive growth, the tablet market peaked in the fourth quarter of 2013, going into decline a year later. Tablet shipments fell in every worldwide region in the second quarter 2015, "with no reason to believe that growth will return in the short term," says Canalys.

Sales in high-growth markets are dwindling as large-screen smart phones grow in popularity to become buyers’ first Internet-enabled devices of choice. In addition, tablets will have to compete against a new wave of two-in-one devices designed to take advantage of Windows 10, adds the research group (though I personally don't think that two-in-ones will catch on en mass.)

"Despite the sudden downturn in shipments, tablets are certainly here to stay. Yes, they have matured and commoditized quickly, but there are still opportunities for vendors to profit from the category," says Tim Coulling, Canalys senior analyst. "Unlike consumers, businesses have been slow when it comes to mass adoption of tablets. They are willing to spend more on products that satisfy a specific need and meet key requirements, around durability for example. In the consumer space, demand for premium tablets in established markets has noticeably slowed but is not going to disappear."