The tablet market in India has become very uncertain due to the increasing popularity of phablets. According to the recent report by IDC, tablet shipment in India grew 7.8% QoQ in the third quarter of 2016. A total of 1.06 million units of tablets (including slates and detachable) were shipped in India in Q3 2016, compared to 0.98 million units in Q2 2016.
Even though Samsung is losing its smartphone market share and profits, the company posted the highest QoQ growth, 26.2%, in terms of tablet market share. Apparently, the growth is credited to the Galaxy J max tablet which was launched in July this year. Other than Samsung, it was only Lenovo that posted QoQ and YoY growth out of the top five vendors in India.
The low-cost device manufacturer Datawind retained the top position with 26.1% share in Q3 2016, registering 73% YoY growth. The numbers aren’t surprising since most of the Datawind tablets are tagged around Rs. 5k and are popular under the brand name of Akash in India. The Canadian company is known for manufacturing low-cost devices for developing markets.
Samsung retained the second position, followed by iBall with 13.6% share, Lenovo with 12% and Micromax with 10.1% share of total tablet devices shipments in Q3 2016. iBall shipment went up by 2.9% and has emerged as the leading Indian vendor of 4G tablets, but it’s Samsung that dominates the list of top 4G tablet vendors in India, all thanks to the Galaxy J max tablet.
The biggest surprise came in the form of Apple which failed to find a spot in the list of top five vendors despite being the leader of the global tablet market with 21.5% share in Q3 2016.
Samsung Tablets Meeting Market Needs
Indian market is highly price sensitive, and 4G/LTE is a major driving force of tablet/smartphone industry in India. With J max, Samsung has fulfilled both of the major market needs. The increasing penetration of mobile internet in India has made Tablets popular in the non-tech commercial field, like Education, Government and large Enterprise segments. While the commercial segment showed continuous growth at a healthy pace, accounting 20% of tablet shipments in Q3 2016, the shipment of 4G tablet shot up by 55%, accounting one-fourth of the total tablets sold.
Matching with the industry trends, Samsung tablets are performing efficiently in the Indian market.
What is the Future of Tablet Market?
The growing adoption of phablets is the major reason which is killing the tablet market in India. Phablets are a larger version of smartphones sporting 5-inches or larger screens. Phablets are more convenient in terms of portability and usage due to which non-tech consumers prefer them over tablets. The number of tablet users in India is estimated to reach 47.1 million in 2016. 90% of smartphones that were launched in India in the last 12 months were sporting 5-inch or bigger screen size display.
Samsung posting 26.2% growth over the previous quarter amidst such a challenging market is a commendable achievement, especially after the recent Note 7 debacle which affected the interest of the stakeholders and even company’s profit share. It is Samsung’s strong distribution chain and market strategies which helped the company to tackle these challenges. However, it was the festive season due to which Samsung and the entire tablet market performed positively.
The future of the tablet market looks very uncertain as, besides Phablet devices, Ultrabooks and Chromebooks have also started eating into the tablet market. For Samsung, it’s going to a challenging task to keep strengthening its presence and market share. It would be interesting to see what strategy will the company be employing in India when the global tablet market is showing no signs of recovery.