The tablet shipments in India declined 3.1-percent year-on-year to 3.7 million units in 2016 as the demand for the category continued to shrink in the country, as per International Data Corporation (IDC) India. Notably, the data includes shipments for both slate and detachables for the year 2016.
"Shipments decline as the consumer demand for tablets continues to shrink. However, commercial shipments grew over 35 percent annually managing to offset declining consumer shipments to a large extent" Navkendar Singh , senior research manager at IDC India, was quoted as saying in the IDC India release.
In CYQ4 (Oct-Dec) 2016, the total tablet shipments in India were 0.82 million units, down 19.6 percent quarter-on-quarter and down 4.3 percent year-on-year over the same period.
"This is primarily due to seasonal decline after festive spike in Q3 and demonetization limiting the consumer sales in the last quarter of the year," the company said.
Datawind, the company behind budget tablets, retained its top spot with 27.6 percent market share during CY2016 and 28.2 percent market share in Q4 2016. Even though the company's market share declined 16.1 percent quarter-on-quarter during Q4 2016, it managed to ship over a million units during 2016.
"With low average ASP (average selling price) of around $52 (roughly Rs. 3,500) and free internet access, vendor has been gaining market share catering to the untapped first time buyers from deeper pockets of India," IDC India said in its release.
In terms of shipments throughout the year, Datawind was followed by Samsung, Lenovo, iBall, and Micromax. Interestingly, Apple managed to enter the top 5 list in Q4 2016 as the Cupertino-based company's shipments in India grew 16 percent quarter-on-quarter and 17 percent year-on-year for the same time period.
The iPad Air 2 remained the top selling product for Apple constituting half its total shipments. On the other hand, the iPad Pro accounted for 22.7 percent of India's total detachable category in 2016, as per the shipments data.
"India's declining tablet market saw few emerging trends in 2016. Detachables category grew annually by a healthy 30.7 percent driven by demand coming from both consumer and commercial segments. Detachables shipments is led by Acer which accounted for almost one fourth of the product category followed by Apple's iPad Pro. 4G based tablets ramped sharply accounting for almost one fourth of total tablet shipments in 2016 against a mere 6 percent in the previous year," Karthik J , senior market analyst, client devices at IDC India, was quoted as saying.
As per Karthik, the demand for tablets is expected to continue declining in the coming years "as relevance of the category fails to exist in the era of large screen smartphones." However, he says that the commercial shipments are likely to balance out the decline in demand at consumer end.