Clear Sign of Saturation: 20% Seasonal Decline in CEE Tablet Market, IDC Notes

Tablet shipments in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) fell by 21.4% in the second quarter of 2015 compared to the same quarter in the previous year, to 2.8 million units shipped, according to the Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Quarterly Tablet Tracker published by International Data Corporation (IDC).

The greatest year-on-year volume decline was posted in the 2-in-1 segment (devices with a detachable screen/keyboard), which contracted 38.6%. Although the share of 2-in-1s in the overall tablet market held steady in the 2-3% range, the form factor is destined to grow gradually in the forthcoming years and cannibalize some notebook share.

Average selling prices in CEE also dropped by 21.9% year on year in Q2 2015, which is consistent with the trend of recent years (average year-on-year decline of around 25%).

“The CEE tablet market shows clear signs of saturation and the proportion of seasonality to the trend adds to the evidence,” says Ji?í Teršel, senior research analyst for the tablet market with IDC CEMA.

Tablet Vendor Highlights

Lenovo, after a not-so-successful Q1 2015, regained the leading position with market share of 16.8%, reflecting share growth of 2.8 percentage points in one quarter based on shipments of 480,000 devices. In the last few years, Lenovo’s performance is increasingly contraposed by that of rival Samsung — their joint market share was 32.7% in Q2 2015, up from 26.9% the year before and 20.1% in Q2 2013.

Samsung came second, closely after Lenovo, with 450,000 units shipped to CEE channels in Q2 2015. Historically Lenovo’s clearest competitor, the vendor gained 3.2 percentage points of market share year on year, thus capturing 15.9% of the combined tablet and 2-in-1 market.

Apple saw its market share descend to a mere 5.0% of the CEE market. Due to a difficult and volatile situation in Russia, demand for iPads in Russia was roughly half of that in the Czech Republic. Interestingly, the Czech market accounted for about one quarter of Apple’s tablet devices sold in CEE in Q2 2015. This is evidence of the economic situation in Russia and relative strength of the U.S. dollar.

ASUS shipped 110,000 tablets and 2-in-1s to the CEE market, giving the vendor a 3.9% market share. In volume terms, the vendor is about 30,000 units behind Apple; in value terms, however, ASUS earned about one third of what Apple did in Q2 2015.

Digma is the newcomer to the top five tablet vendors on the CEE market. Without question the cheapest of the top-selling brands, Digma shipped 100,000 devices and accounted for 3.5% market share. The vendor focuses on the low-end of the tablet market, with 80% of its devices shipped in Q2 2015 having a screen size less than 9 inches.

“Tough competition among vendors, steadily declining prices, and efficient mass production, all contribute to a deflationary market. Consumers benefit from new technologies that offer new options for work, education, and leisure. Likewise, some companies have adjusted their business models to maximize profits from these new technologies, while others are yet to make full use of their potential,” notes Teršel.