Is business usage of Tablets growing?

by Adam Simon, Global Managing Director, Retail Business Development

Business usage of Tablets is expected to increase. With Tablet sales to consumers recently in decline across mature markets, and replacement cycles proving longer than expected, commercial usage is widely considered the next opportunity for Tablet growth.

In the course of last year, a number of vendors have launched Tablets dedicated for use in office environments or targeted at vertical industries such as retail, health and education. And consumer-targeted Tablets, in particular the iPad, have also been used by businesses. During Apple’s last quarterly earnings call, Tim Cook spoke of the importance of business sales of tablets – cynics will say that he would say that, having experienced an 18% YOY downturn in tablet sales, so he has to paint a rosy picture. But recent CONTEXT data supports the assertion of a growing importance of Tablets in business environments.

In Q414, for the top 5 Western European markets combined, distributor Tablet sales into business channels increased Y/Y while sales into retail declined. Sure, business-channel growth came from a small base, particularly in the corporate reseller segment, and multiple retail was still by far the dominating channel with a 69% share. But this was down from last year’s 73%, while business channel share increased.

And while Apple remains the dominating vendor for Tablet sales to corporate resellers, Windows has finally begun to make an impact on the segment. Windows-based Tablets accounted for 11.4% of Tablet sales to the corporate reseller channel in Q414, compared to only 4.5% a year ago.

It looks like Tim Cook is right, and there is a growing market for business tablets. The next big leaps will be when the IBM business apps which are being developed in collaboration with Apple, as well as the launch of Windows 10 later on this year, start to make an impact. CONTEXT will be tracking those trends closely.


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Filed under Market Analysis, Tablet PCs

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