Global tablet shipments have hit a new quarterly low, and they’re about to go even lower

Although the bulk of our attention is naturally aimed at the smartphone market, which has stopped growing while continuing to mature, global tablet shipments are certainly also worth a revisit after a surprisingly solid holiday quarter.

Unfortunately, as expected, sales numbers are down for the January – March 2018 timeframe, both sequentially and compared to that same period of last year. There’s no rebound in sight either, as the 33 million units shipped worldwide during Q1 for a historical negative record may further decline to a new all-time low total of 31 million shipments between April and June.

That’s despite a forecasted launch of revised iPad Pro models by the end of Q2, following a new non-Pro Apple 9.7-incher that obviously didn’t have enough time to leave a mark on Q1 2018 figures.

The latest report from Digitimes Research lacks OEM scores and rankings, focusing instead on the shrinking popularity of 7-inch tablets to the advantage of “9.7-inch or bigger models.” Even though smaller slates tend to come with far more attractive price points, their value proposition might be significantly impacted by “phablets.” Meanwhile, larger tabs are often focused on productivity, with optional accessories like keyboards and styluses that seem to be making more and more of a difference.

Another interesting trend is Samsung and Huawei’s increased use of in-house developed processors at the expense of MediaTek or Qualcomm solutions. Last but not least, it’s important to highlight so-called “white-box” vendors are expected to notice bigger drops in Q2 shipments compared to “brand suppliers.”

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About The Author
Adrian Diaconescu
Adrian has had an insatiable passion for writing since he was in school and found himself writing philosophical essays about the meaning of life and the differences between light and dark beer. Later, he realized this was pretty much his only marketable skill, so he first created a personal blog (in Romanian) and then discovered his true calling, which is writing about all things tech (in English).