The International Data Corporation (IDC) on Tuesday released its Middle East and Africa Quarterly Tablet Tracker, which showed an 8.8% drop to 4.05 million units during the final three months of 2015.
“The largest vendors are feeling the pinch of saturation in many countries across the Middle East, and low consumer confidence in oil-dependent economies is driving down demand,” said Nakul Dogra, a senior research analyst for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.
For the entire year, tablets in the region declined 3.1% to 16.2 million and globally, the tablet market weakened by 9.9%.
“The bigger screen sizes of today’s smartphones continue to cannibalise spending on traditional slate tablets,” said Dogra.
IDC said that detachable tablets are showing healthy growth of 95.4% and the firm expects the gadgets to ratchet up compound annual growth of 30.3% to 2020, providing a boost to the Windows operating system.
“Detachables primarily run on Windows, and end users are increasingly looking at these devices as an alternative for traditional notebooks,” said Fouad Rafiq Charakla, senior programme manager for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.
He cautioned that the devices are still in the early days of adoption.
Tablet prices are also key for consumers and IDC data showed that market leader Samsung and Lenovo sales are being driven by lower cost devices.
“But there is growing competition in this segment of the market from smaller vendors that are happy to operate at much lower margins. This is forcing the bigger vendors to cut their prices in order to remain competitive, which is eroding their margins and pushing the market’s average selling price down even further,” Dogra said.
Samsung leads the region with a 21.4% market share, followed by Apple with 11.2% and Lenovo (9.9%).