In what could signal signs of fatigue in the global tablet market, Boston-based advisory firm Strategy Analytics released a new study today, showing that in 2015 tablets had their worst year-on-year performance to date. According to the report, shipments fell 11 per cent to 69.9m units in the fourth quarter of 2015 and 8 per cent to 224.3m units for the full year.
Peter King, research director, tablet & touchscreen strategies service at the company said, "Apple suffered big setbacks this year as a lack of innovation during the last several years caught up to iPad sales. Instead, Apple has focused on its MacBooks, iPhone 6/6+, and Apple Watch releases. The launch of the iPad Pro failed to meet expectations during the quarter. While we see real long-term potential for iPad Pro in the enterprise and verticals, there was not enough demand to move the needle in Q4."
The "Preliminary Global Tablet Shipments and Market Share by Operating System: Q4 2015" report from Strategy Analytics' Tablet & Touchscreen Strategies (TTS) service did, however, show significant progress in the 2-in-1 tablet market and, specifically, Windows Tablet segments, with 379 per cent year-on-year growth.
Eric Smith, senior analyst, tablet & touchscreen strategies service said, "2-in-1 detachable tablets have reached an inflection point in 2015 as computing needs continue to trend more and more mobile and tablets with Windows 10 can compete against iOS in the premium and high price bands and equally well against Android in the mid and lower price bands. The Q4 2015 launch of Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book was met with many "Surface clones" by Microsoft's OEM partners at lower price points. This variety of devices will bolster momentum of Windows Tablets going forward.”
One caveat to the good news was that there is a small base for the 2-in-1 category and it has yet to make a major impact in the wider tablet market. However, Windows tablets saw 59 per cent year-on-year growth in 2015 while Android tablets fell 7 per cent and iOS dropped 22 per cent, the largest loss among key tablet manufacturers.