In a new IDC report on the Western European tablet market that was published this morning tablets stabilized in Q2 2015 with total shipments contracting annually by 1.2% and reaching 7.5 million units. This small decline, which was the softest since the downturn started at the beginning of 2014, resulted from the combined effect of persistent weak demand for consumer tablets and increasing interest in 2-in-1s and as commercial tablets. Furthermore, the drop in tablet shipments stabilized at 4.4% while growth for 2-in-1s persisted at +71%.
The overall volume of 2-in-1s remains relatively small, but demand continues to prove buoyant and Q2 saw the share of these devices jump to 7.3% of the total market. Daniel Goncalves, research analyst, IDC EMEA Personal Computing, stated that "The interest in 2-in-1s that we observed in previous quarters is clearly materializing into corporate deployments and consumer purchases, especially among professionals and students."
Yet their own report later contradicts Goncalves analysis by stating that "2-in-1s still have a marginal presence across businesses in Western Europe and it is clear that more work needs to be done in terms of both performance and applications to increase their penetration in the commercial space."
As noted below Apple came in second to Samsung in European tablet sales, but only in terms of "empty volume". While IDC noted that "In terms of vendor growth, Samsung posted a double-digit rise in shipments thanks to good demand for several of its flagship models …" they didn't point out how many of those tablets were free "give-aways" in 2 for 1 deals, as in, buy one of Samsung's losing S5 phones and get a free tablet. Everyone has seen those sales, so there's no denying it. But on paper, it's empty volume growth statistics that IDC is so good at and they actually show Samsung beating Apple in Europe.
During Apple's July Financial Conference Call, Apple's CFO Luca Maestri noted that while Apple doesn't participate in the low end of the tablet market, they are extremely successful where they do compete. "Apple owns 76% market share of tablets priced above U.S. $200." That would confirm that Samsung's tablets are either free or cheapo tablets just to push "volume stats." In January Apple's CEO stated that "For e-commerce on tablets, over 80% is done on an iPad when compared to other competing tablets." So where it matters, Apple's iPad is still the leading tablet.
Evidently IDC stats don't reflect such depth of analysis. It's just based on dead-head statistics. And once again, IDC continues to bastardize tablet statistics by including 2-in-1 models so that Microsoft can get onto the chart.
IDC further noted in their report that "Besides connectivity, the commercial market remains a silver lining for tablets, with shipments increasing by more than 50% compared to the same quarter of a year ago." While Apple's iPad is leading in the commercial space, Apple has doubled down in this space by pushing the iPad into small business this week.
Lastly, IDC notes that Microsoft's Surface (2-in-1 product) experienced growth of 187% year-over-year, though that only translated to 74,000 units shipped. The number four tablet player was noted as being ASUS with 556,000 tablets shipped – So Microsoft's gain is nothing short of irrelevant considering that the Surface product debuted over three years ago.