Low-cost Fire Tablets Boost Amazon’s Tablet Market Share as Global Shipments Drop


Amazon Fire tablet

Yesterday, the IDC released its usual quarterly statistics of tablet shipments globally. As has been the case for the last few years, there are no surprises.

As expected, tablet shipments continued on the path of decline we saw last quarter. Only 38.7 million tablets were shipped in Q2 2016, a 12% drop from the 44.1 million shipped over a similar period last year. This still fails to top the nearly 40 million tablets shipped in the first 3 months of the year. Bad times.

The biggest gainer was Amazon thanks to its low-cost 7-inch Fire tablets whose pricing, at $50, is very enticing and resonates with most of the market since there is no huge demand for tablets anyway and for most people, it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot on large screen devices doing exactly what their phones are doing.


Apple’s March unveiling of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro seems to have helped it gain some market share even as others in the top 5 vendor list experienced drops. The smaller iPad Pro (relative to last year’s large 12-inch model) went on sale in Q2 2016 and, according to the IDC, was a key player in helping Apple’s market share rise from a little under 25% to nearly 26% despite shipping 1 million units fewer than it did same time last year.

Lenovo, which has been aggressive in pushing its Yoga tablets and detachable devices in several markets including Kenya managed to ship the same number of units (2.5 million) as it did last year while increasing its market share by 1 percentage point.

Another Chinese device maker, Huawei, nearly doubled its market share thanks to shipping various tablet models. Its new detachable, the MateBook has started going on sale in several countries including Kenya and while its reception is yet to be known, could be what the company needs to keep its 71% year over year growth into this quarter.

By shipping only 6 million tablets in Q2 2016, Samsung experienced the biggest drop in shipments. This is likely to change in Q3 when the company will likely start selling a new model of its flagship Tab S series of tablets.