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Tablet Shipments to Slide to 163M in 2015 as Brand Vendors Set to Develop Commercial Application Market, Says TrendForce

The latest tablet shipment report from TrendForce projects the 2015 global tablet shipments to reach 163 million units, a 14.9% year-on-year decline and a downward revision from the previous estimation. Factors behind the correction include the global economic downturn and the lack of innovative features in the current range of tablets. Shipments from branded tablet vendors are estimated at 117 million units, representing an 18.7% year-on-year decline; while white-box vendors are expected to ship 46 million based on the revised projection, down 3.1% year on year. According to TrendForce notebook analyst Anita Wang, the ratio between tablet shipments during this year’s first half and that of the second half is about 46:54. This indicates that device vendors will concentrate their shipping efforts during the second half of 2015, when China, Europe and the U.S. are having their peak sales periods.

“Tablets have yet to evolve beyond their main role as entertainment devices,” said Wang. “And as smartphones grow in size, they pinch demand for mainstream tablet products that are sized at 7 inches.” On the other hand, Microsoft Surface series and Apple’s upcoming 12.9-inch iPad change their functions depending on situations. They therefore can assist in the expansion of tablet applications by capturing a share of the business application market.

Apple retains its title as the top tablet vendor for the first half of 2015; Lenovo will see its tablet shipments drop for the first time

With 23.6 million iPads shipped in the first half of 2015, Apple has kept a comfortable lead in the tablet market by holding on to 31.4% of the market share. However, the upcoming iPad Mini 3 does not offer notable feature upgrades except for having a thinner body. Therefore, it is unlikely to generate significant purchase demand when it hits the market this third quarter. Apple will also launch the 12.9-inch iPad Pro this fourth quarter, and while this product has garnered a lot of attention by introducing a new size category in the iPad series, its actual contribution to this year’s shipments will be limited due to late arrival. With a detachable keyboard and a stylus, iPad Pro will be used as a touchstone in Apple’s efforts to develop business applications for iPad products.

Samsung follows Apple as the No.2 tablet vendor by delivering around 16.7 million tablets and taking 22.2% of the market share in the first half of 2015. However, its shipment volume for the second half of the year is expected to be smaller. Shipments of Samsung’s mainstream 7-inch products have dropped significantly as Chinese brand vendors have been taking away their demand in the Greater China region. While Samsung is going to step up shipments of its latest 8- and 9.7-inch tablets in the next half-year period, the vendor is not expected to make up for the shipment decline of its 7-inch products.

Lenovo shipped approximately 4.42 million tablets during this year’s first half and is expected to ship a lot more in the second half. Nonetheless, Lenovo is projected to post its first tablet shipment decline in 2015 because of the global economic downturn and the saturation of the tablet market.

Currency woes have suppressed shipment growth for ASUS as it aggressively develops the emerging markets. ASUS shipped about 2.43 million tablets in the first half of the year and is expected to overtake this figure in the second half, when the vendor will be introducing new tablets in the third quarter and increasing shipments in the fourth.

Microsoft shipped about 1.5 million Surface devices in this year’s first half, and its tablet shipment ratio between the two half-year periods of 2015 is 37:63. Surface 3, which rides on the popularity of the previously released Surface Pro 3 and is affordably priced, has a positive impact on consumers’ willingness to buy 2-in-1 PC products. The success of Surface 3 also proves that 2-in-1 PCs with better specs have the potential to expand into the business application market. Based on TrendForce’s analysis, Microsoft’s tablet shipments this year will soar 52% year on year and hit the four-million-unit mark.

Amazon shipped less than a million tablets in the first half of 2015, but the vendor has a chance to triple its shipment volume in the second half as it focuses on retaining its market share in the 7-inch tablet segment. In the fourth quarter, Amazon will launch another 7-inch model in addition to the new 8-inch and 10.1-inch devices. These products will thus drive Amazon’s tablet shipments in the next half-year period.

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