Despite Slowdown in Detachables, Mobility and Other Enhancements Drive Commercial Sales: IDC

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The overall tablet market for Western Europe declined 8.1 percent year-over-year (YoY), shipping 6.6 million units in the first quarter of 2018, according to new research from International Data Corp. (IDC). The tablet market continues to exhibit a bleak outlook for the region, facing headwinds such as increasingly long lifecycles and a nearly saturated installed base.  

There was still one ray of optimism this quarter, however, as certain original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) continued to leverage the mobility advantages of a removable keyboard within a business setting, leading to 0.5 percent growth YoY for detachables in the commercial sector.

"Despite the slowdown in detachables, they remained positive in the commercial segment, aided by the performance of the iPad Pro," said Dennis Pedersen, research analyst, IDC Western European Personal Computing Devices. "The increasing push of tablets with keyboard capabilities by Apple has met with success among professionals with higher mobility needs; and their enhanced features in terms of battery life, display, and optional connectivity have facilitated their use case as notebook replacements."

Their commercial growth this quarter does not mask the fact that detachable volumes are showing strong signs of heading towards a downward trajectory. Important OEMs are increasingly focusing on profitability, showing concern for value over volume. Concurrently, there is growing demand for convertible PCs, which are analogous in use case but seem to be gaining more traction within enterprises, resulting in a cannibalization effect for detachable sales.

With regard to specific companies, Samsung ranked first with 25.1 percent market share, but sales volume declined 13.1 percent YoY. The company’s strategic direction still appears to be pointing towards profit over volume, as Samsung experienced another strong performance from its premium android range.

Apple ranked second, recording a market share of 24.4 percent, and increasing by 3.5 percent YoY. Its iPad Pro products continue to dominate the detachable market in both commercial and consumer segments, aiding in the company's annual growth.

Lenovo ranked third with a market share of 7.8 percent, while declining 8.8 percent YoY. Ongoing expansions in its Windows Detachable portfolio are being well received in the market, leading to a solid overall detachable performance.

Huawei ranked fourth with 6.5 percent market share, aided by a very strong growth of 56.6 percent YoY, as it continues to increase its footprint across Western Europe in all smart connected devices. Large tablet volumes were achieved by occupying the space in the low–midrange left by vendors such as Acer and ASUS.

Amazon ranked fifth with 5 percent market share, growing an impressive 41.5 percent YoY. A focus on enhancing the Alexa platform, including the announcement of Alexa hands-free mode becoming available for the smaller-screened tablets, led to strong sales.

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