Apple continues to dominate (struggling) tablet market

The worldwide tablet market declined 8.6% during the third quarter of 2018 (3Q18) as global shipments fell to 36.4 million, according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. Apple continued to dominate the market.

Slate tablets accounted for the majority of the market with 31.6 million units, down 7.9% from the previous year, according to IDC. Detachable tablets also declined, down 13.1% from the previous year, to account for 4.8 million unit shipments.

"The detachable market has failed to see growth in 2018, a worrying trend that has plagued the category off and on since the end of 2016," says Lauren Guenveur, senior research analyst for IDC's Tablet team. "In October we finally saw the highly anticipated refreshes of Apple's iPad Pro and Microsoft's Surface Pro, as well as new products by Samsung and Google, which lead us to believe that the last quarter of the year will turn the detachable category around, at least for the time being. Increasingly sparse are new products by the top-tier PC OEMs as they remain more focused on their convertible portfolio, a move that will ultimately affect the overall trajectory of the detachable market going forward.”

Apple continued to lead the tablet market with nearly double the shipments of its nearest competitor. The refreshed $329 iPad with Pencil support that launched in late March continued to drive volume although it was unable to maintain the same momentum from the third quarter of 2017 as that was the first time in a while that Apple had released a lower cost iPad. iPad Pro saw year-on-year declines in anticipation of a refresh at the beginning of the fourth quarter, which bodes well for Apple through the end of the year, according to IDC.