Amazon is getting a lot of press coverage this morning thanks to IDC’s latest estimates of global tablet shipments for the first quarter of 2016. According to IDC’s analysts, Amazon saw a stupendous increase in tablet shipments.
I, on the other hand, am less than surprised.
Tablet shipments declined more than 14 percent worldwide during the first quarter of 2016, according to the latest stats from IDC.
The research firm said the decline was due to general seasonality combined with an overall disinterested customer base. All told, roughly 39.6 million units were shipped in Q1, compared to 47.1 million in the same quarter a year ago.
As for the vendors, the most dramatic year-over-year change comes from Amazon, which increased tablet shipments by an astronomical 5421.7 percent to claim the No. 3 spot on the list. The tech giant wasn’t even included in the top five tablet vendors in the first quarter of 2015.
Basically tablet sales declined last quarter for everyone in the top 5 but Amazon and Huawei:
Huawei effectively doubled their sales, which was a surprise (even though its home market of China is huge).
But the Amazon news was not at all surprising, for two reasons.
Amazon’s most-promoted and cheapest tablet last quarter cost half as much as the Amazon’s most-popular tablet from the same period last year. That is obviously going to boost sales, but more importantly IDC wasn’t counting Amazon’s best selling tablet last year – not as a tablet, anyway.
I’m sure you know that Amazon’s cheapest tablet is now the $49 Fire tablet. It has a 7″ screen and is a great value. Well, last year Amazon was pushing the Fire HD6, which cost $99 and had a 6″ screen.
As a result we don’t really know how many tablets Amazon sold last year, so that 54x increase in Fire tablet sales is bogus.
But I wouldn’t draw the same conclusion about the dip in sales, however. That is a sign that the market is contracting, a trend we’ve seen for a few years now. It’s a strong indicator that my prediction last week will prove true: Amazon won’t be replacing all of its Fire tablets this year.