IDC: Despite new Surface and iPad models, the tablet market is still declining

Michael Cottuli

The new IDC numbers are out, revealing the state of the tablet market for the time being. The information is especially pertinent to Microsoft fans, of course, on account of the company’s continued investment in the Surface brand to carry its name in hardware.

Sales for products like the Surface Pro and iPad have declined 3.4% since last year, marking a noticeable decline for the tablet market as major companies are nearing the end of their current hardware life cycle.

The downward spiral of the tablet market continued during the second quarter of 2017 (2Q17), according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. Despite notable product launches like the new lower priced iPad and products from other top-tier vendors, worldwide shipments for tablets declined 3.4% year over year in 2Q17, reaching 37.9 million.

While 3.4% isn’t a massive number, it’s an important one – and one that could signal a long term issue for companies that are placing stock in their tablet products. The IDC report mentions that consumers may be waiting “in anticipation of product refreshes from high-profile vendors like Apple and Microsoft,” and more optimistic analysts may be inclined to believe that. Both Apple and Microsoft have already refreshed their tablet lines (barring the Surface Book, which is more of a laptop anyways), so it’s hard to see what consumers could be waiting for.