IDC said that in the fourth quarter of 2015 over 14 million tablets were shipped to Western Europe as the market volume declined 10.1 per cent on year. However, the decline was only 1.8 percent thanks to growing penetration of detachable tablets. In the fourth quarter of the year, 2.6 million tablets with a detachable keyboard were shipped, up from just over 800,000 units a year ago, accounting now for almost 20 per cent of the overall tablet market.
Daniel Goncalves, research analyst, IDC EMEA Personal Computing said:
"As the detachable tablets available on the market become more powerful and better suited to business requirements, this form factor has been successfully adopted by professionals and executives as it perfectly addresses their mobility needs and is increasingly seen as a notebook replacement."
Microsoft is the segment leader even as Apple entered the market with its cloned Surface product. Since then several industry players have recently launched or announced new detachable designs that in 2016 will compete in the commercial space and leverage the large opportunity created by enterprise mobility.
Marta Fiorentini, research manager, IDC EMEA Personal Computing said:
"The arrival in Europe of these new designs based on Windows 10 and a more powerful generation of processors should support commercial shipments in the coming quarters as IT departments focus on increased security features, application costs, and device and application management."
On the consumer side, preparations for Black Friday and the early Christmas promotions disrupted traditional seasonality trends as a number of vendors brought forward their shipments to the final weeks of the third quarter of 2015. The exception in the quarter was Amazon's low-priced 7-inch device, which shipped almost a million units and increased pressure on entry-level and no-name products. Strong appeal from other consumer technologies, such as wearables, also dampened demand as users looked at alternatives for their year-end holiday presents. In the commercial segment, performances varied across geographies as macroeconomic factors and the varying levels of digital and mobility readiness in European countries influenced the pace of slate deployments.
"The new form factor mix helped increase market value. This is especially important in consumer, where slate tablet prices have been declining for a while without necessarily rekindling demand. This quarter, the danger of a sharp drop in value was very real but thanks to detachables, the average market price increased by 3.8% on year."
Apple ended the year as market leader of tablets despite a strong contraction in iPad volumes which were only partially offset by shipments of the new iPad Pro. Samsung declined less than the overall market as it continues to target all market segments and on an annual basis strengthened its second position and closed the gap with Apple.
Amazon was in third place thanks to its Kindle Fire line, particularly the 7-inch device . Lenovo slipped to fourth place despite out-performing the market, but ended 2015 in third position while it prepares to strengthen its detachable offering. Asustek finished fifth in the fourth quarter of 2015, with the vendor focusing on profitable growth and increasing its foothold in products with higher specs, IDV said.