“Most tablet brands will be more conservative in committing their resources during 2017,” TrendForce notebook analyst Anita Wang said in a statement. “Amazon and Huawei on the contrary have ambitions to increase their tablet shipments by many folds. The two brands are expected to expand their offerings in the near future. Additionally, Microsoft will be releasing Surface Pro 5 in the first quarter of 2017. Generally speaking, tablet shipments will drop next year but the decline will be fairly limited.”
Apple is expected to launch affordable iPad devices to maintain its market share.
Amazon made a splash in the tablet market with extremely price-friendly products in 2015. Since then, Amazon’s tablet shipments rose sharply for two consecutive years, and its competitors have also shifted their focus on low-price models. “To narrow Amazon’s lead in this particular segment, Apple will be introducing a more affordable 9.7-inch iPad device in the first quarter of 2017,” said Wang. “While this low-price model is expected to be the main driver of iPad shipments for the entire year, whether it will be a hit with consumers remains to be seen.”
Another significant trend in next year’s tablet market will be the large increase in device size. TrendForce forecasts that over 30% of tablets shipped worldwide in 2017 will be in the 10-inch and greater size segment. The 10.X-inch segment in particular will see a noticeable expansion in shipment share mainly because the leading brand Apple will also be launching a new 10.5-inch iPad device next year.
Samsung too has adjusted its product strategy and reinserted the 10.1-inch size category into its tablet offerings. Besides Apple and Samsung, other branded vendors are very active in the large-size segment as well because product margins of small-size tablets are being eroded by the intense price competition.
MacDailyNews Take: We wouldn’t bet on Apple’s market share decreasing YOY until Apple’s new iPad lineup is revealed next spring. We expect iPad to return to YOY unit sales growth in 2017.
Apple to launch 3 new iPads in March, including bezel-free 10.9-inch model, analysts say – November 11, 2016