Seeing all-screen smartphones continue eroding tablet demand, tablet vendors, to differentiate the two product lines, are turning aggressively to promote 10-inch and above models with consumer-friendly prices, hoping to trigger a replacement trend. Digitimes Research expects worldwide tablet shipments to reach 128 million units in 2018 with on-year decline shrinking to around 10%.
Digitimes Research expects all-screen smartphone's impact on tablet demand to weaken after 2019 and worldwide tablet shipments will remain at above 120 million units each year with a CAGR of negative 1.4% from 2018-2022.
Apple, Samsung Electronics and Amazon will be the top-3 tablet vendors worldwide in 2017, while Huawei will move to fourth place, surpassing Lenovo thanks to a strategy to push product differentiation. The gap between Huawei and Lenovo gap is expected to further extend in 2018.
With some vendors already adopting over 6-inch displays for their all-screen smartphones, shipments of 7.x- to 8.x-inch tablets will see increasing competition. To minimize the impact, Digitimes Research believes, tablet brands will turn to focus on promoting their 9-inch and above models, causing worldwide shipments of 9-inch and above tablets to account for over 60% of worldwide volumes in 2018.
Although China-based makers together have seen increased share of worldwide 8-inch tablet shipments, their rapidly dropping 7-inch orders will benefit Taiwan's share of worldwide shipments, boosting the percentage to above 50% in 2018 as most large-size tablets will be delivered by Taiwan makers.