2015 is the worst year on record for tablet makers in the world. For the first time ever, tablets registered double-digit decline in shipment numbers according to data from TrendForce. Tablet shipments dropped by over 12% to stand at a mere 168.5 million units for the whole of last year.
iPad maker Apple was the worst hit. iPad shipments were down by 22% from 63.4 million units in 2014 to 49.6 million last year. The introduction of the large iPad Pro late last year did not do much to tilt scales in Apple’s favour. The iPad Pro, being a niche product first and foremost, was always going to be a tough sell and the same is not expected to change this year.
Still, in what is a sign that all is not well everywhere, Apple was still able to maintain its position as the leading tablet maker and vendor in the world. Apple’s best selling tablet last year was the iPad mini (it is estimated to have accounted for over 40% of all of the company’s tablet shipments) and the company would be wise to release a refresh to the mini lineup to reignite interest if it still hopes to keep its shipment numbers up this year.
Samsung also maintained its lead as the second biggest tablet maker and vendor in the world with a total of 33.5 million units being shipped last year, an 18% drop from the previous year. Its tablet market share also dropped by 1.5% to hit the 20% mark. Should the Korean company not get its act together, a drop below 20% could be disastrous. To prevent that from happening, one of its strategies is to focus on budget tablets that are sure to excite consumers. The Galaxy Tab E lineup is expected to lead the assault complementing what the high-end Galaxy Tab S and the mid-range Galaxy Tab A lineups are doing. New “Lite” versions of its Galaxy tablets, which usually cost less are also expected to be introduced this year.
Europe’s positive response to Lenovo saw the Chinese company become the only top three tablet vendor to register a rise in shipments in 2015. Lenovo shipped 5.8% more tablets to its largest tablet market in 2015 than it did in 2014.
Amazon was able to beat Taiwan consumer electronics maker Asus to fourth place thanks to the release of its new insanely-priced 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet. Amazon sold 3.5 million units of that particular model in the brief period in 2015 when it became available.