Global shipments of tablets are estimated to grow 7.8% sequentially to 45.58 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017 due mainly to brisk market demand for entry-level branded tablets, according to Digitimes Research.
The research report showed that global tablet shipments, including brand and white-box models, came to 42.29 million units in the third quarter of 2017, higher than market expectations due to seasonal factors. With the robust performance in the third and fourth quarters, the annual shrinkage of global tablet shipments is expected to narrow significantly in 2017, and a stable shipment performance is projected for 2018.
Driven by their promotional campaigns, global brand vendors saw their total tablet shipments soar 16.3% sequentially to 29.99 million units in the third quarter of 2017. Among them, Apple witnessed its entry-level iPad, launched in early 2017 with a price tag of US$329, sustain booming sales momentum in the third quarter, making it enjoy higher shipment volume in the quarter than seen a year earlier. Amazon also saw its tablet shipments perform better than expected due to its Prime Day promotional campaigns.
Global shipments of white-box tablets amounted to 12.30 million units in the third quarter, showing a whopping 61.8% growth over a quarter earlier. But squeezed by the low-priced branded models and affected by Google's increasingly strict validation on white-box tablets, smaller white-box makers have seen their shipments undermined significantly and total global white-box tablet shipments for the third quarter still represented a sharp annual fall of 22.2% as a result.
Brand tablet vendors are maintaining their growth momentum in the fourth quarter due to year-end buying season, with their aggregate shipments estimated to rise 13% on quarter to reach over 33 million units. But shipment momentum of white-box tablets is expected to be squeezed down in the fourth quarter as a number of clients already required advanced shipments a quarter earlier.