Tablets are evolving, and surprisingly it’s thanks to Microsoft

Tablet sales are still on the slide, but the decline in growth has been strangely alleviated by the unlikely Microsoft, which is forcing an evolution in the tablet industry. What?

For a while it looked like the game was up for tablets, with early years’ excitement and uptake being negated by the relatively long refresh-cycle for non-essential consumer hardware. Numbers released by Strategy Analytics confirm the tablet market has shrunk again in terms of sales, but it looks like there’s a change in the dynamic of the industry. A much needed change at that.

Strategy Analytics pointed towards Microsoft’s rapidly growing influence in the tablet space, with Windows now being shipped with 16% of all tablets in the market, up 25% year-on-year. 16% is a respectable third place in a market totally dominated by Android (65%) and, to a lesser extent, iOS (20%).

The reason for this, according to IDC, is the rise of professional models, such as the larger ‘Pro’ model (for iPad) or the veritable buffet of 2-in-1 detachable laptop/tablet (laplets? Or tabtops?).

That’s certainly helped for Apple, which has seen a 6% decline in sales YoY, but the release of premium Pro devices has alleviated pressure by boosting average selling price by 6% to $459 in turn.

Samsung saw a more substantial decline in sales (from 7.9 million to 6.6 million – down 17% YoY), as did Lenovo (down 11% YoY). In fact, predictably sales from Huawei are predictably up 14%, and only Amazon join them in growing sales – up an impressive 119% from 0.9 million units to 2.0 million units, as a result of a successful quick Fire sale event.

Here are the proper numbers from SA.

SA tablet tracker Q3 2016

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