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According to a new report by International Data Corporation (IDC), the worldwide detachable tablet market grew to 6.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017 (4Q17), an increase of 10.3 percent from the previous holiday season.
The report said that growth for the entire year remained positive although it showed signs of slowing as detachable tablets grew 1.6 percent year over year in 2017, down from the 24 percent growth in 2016. However, some of the slowness was attributed to the launch cadence of high profile devices like the Surface, which was off schedule, leaving older models on shelves as consumers and businesses laid in wait for product refreshes.
"To date, much of the trajectory of the detachable market has been attributed to Microsoft and Apple pushing their wares in the U.S.," said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers. "However, the continued success of this category hinges on the willingness of other PC vendors to participate and more importantly, consumers from other countries to adopt the new form factor over convertible PCs."
Meanwhile, the report added that Apple maintained a solid lead in the holiday quarter driving growth both through its lower-priced 9.7-inch iPad as well as its newly refreshed iPad Pro products. While Amazon.com was able to steal the second position from rival Samsung as the online giant offered steep discounts during the holiday season.
However, Samsung dropped to the third position behind Amazon. Shipments of its detachable portfolio continue to rise, however, these gains are outweighed by the declines seen among its slate models.
Huawei's half-hearted approach to the growing detachable segment does not offer a promising outlook for the company. However, the company's strong brand, aggressive channel strategy, and the inclusion of cellular connectivity in its slate tablets has helped cement its rank in the top 5.
Lenovo's ability to leverage its strength from the traditional PC business is starting to pay off as the company's detachable tablet business has grown in the past year. However, the bulk of Lenovo's tablets are still comprised of slates that offer great value at low prices.