The overall tablet market for Western Europe declined 13.1% YoY, says IDC, shipping 10.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017, indicating a continued weakening of the market. Slate tablets continue to be the primary driver of this market erosion, declining by 15.4% YoY, as their productive use cases pale in comparison to newer form factors, and they increasingly become relegated to simple media consumption devices.
Detachable tablets have slowed down but continue to see traction in certain areas. They posted a minor 2.0% YoY decline, but thanks to increasing interest in premium devices, coupled with a very strong commercial performance of 8.5% YoY growth, the value of their sales (in euros) rose by 3.2%.
Overall, the commercial segment performed slightly negatively with a 1.4% decline YoY. Despite this, detachable tablets experienced growth of 8.5%, driven by increased adoption into enterprise, where they are poised to address the increasing portable needs of the mobile workforce.
On the consumer side, seasonal promotions were sufficient to grow the market QoQ but the market continued to weaken YoY, with a decline of 15.5%. Slate tablets' value proposition for consumers continues to diminish. Certain vendors pushed a considerable volume of this form factor as a gateway into their larger ecosystems, but this did not make up for the growing consumer disinterest, leading to a 16.8% decline YoY. Detachable tablets also contracted in this segment, declining 7.1% YoY, as the rapid adoption of convertibles cannibalizes their sales.
"Profitability is increasingly becoming the focus among the most important tablet manufacturers," said Daniel Goncalves, senior research analyst at IDC Western Europe. "The performance of Apple and Samsung, the two main players in the Western European market, together representing over 40% of all tablet shipments, reflects the increasing concern for value over volume. Both posted double-digit growth in revenue YoY, despite the single-digit declines YoY in units."