Worldwide tablet market continues its slump in the third quarter

The worldwide tablet market continued its slump as vendors shipped 43 million units in the third quarter of 2016 (3Q16), a year-over-year decline of 14.7%, according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker

In contrast to the annual decline, 3Q16 shipments were up 9.8% over the second quarter of 2016 as the larger vendors prepared for the holiday quarter. Low-cost (sub-$200) detachables also reached an all-time high as vendors like RCA flooded the market. 

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"Unfortunately, many low-cost detachables also deliver a low-cost experience," said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers. "The race to the bottom is something we have already experienced with slates and it may prove detrimental to the market in the long run as detachables could easily be seen as disposable devices rather than potential PC replacements."

Despite Apple's marketing push for the iPad Pro, the iPad Air and Mini lines have been the models with mass appeal, accounting for more than two-thirds of its shipments this quarter, according to IDC Although Apple's tablet shipments declined 6.2% year-over-year, total iPad-related revenues were flat for the quarter, thanks to the iPad Pro offering.

Samsung continued to hold the number 2 position. Fortunately for the company, the negative press from the Note 7 didn’t bleed over into its tablet business, according to IDC. However, over-reliance on the declining slate market led to a decline of 19.3% compared to 3Q15. Samsung's attempt to enter the detachable market with its TabPro S at the beginning of 2016 seems to have taken a backseat as its price and positioning remain uncompetitive.