Large-screen smartphones are slaughtering the tablet and PC business

The tablet market is off 11% and PC shipments have fallen 7%. Large-screened smartphones are contributing.

Phablets large-screen smartphones are affecting tablet and PC sales
Credit: Tim Hornyak

More bad news has just come in for the tablet market as large smartphones are becoming do-all devices. PCs aren't safe, either.

Q2 2015 worldwide tablet shipments have fallen 11% year-over-year to 42.5 million units, according to new numbers from consultant and analyst Canalys.

The problems affecting the market aren't going away either. The analyst thinks that a new wave of Windows 10 two-in-one combination devices is poised to grab market share.

Enterprise demand

Tablet demand for business use has some legs, though. As does the lust for premium devices, such as the iPad in established markets. That area has slowed, but hasn't disappeared and isn't likely to, according to one analyst.

"Unlike consumers, businesses have been slow when it comes to mass adoption of tablets," Tim Coulling, a Canalys Senior Analyst, said on the company's website.

Coulling says businesses are willing to spend more on things that "satisfy a specific need and meet key requirements." Requirements might include durability, for example.


Large-screened smartphones are a cause for the decline.

Tablet sales in high-growth markets are "dwindling as large-screen smartphones grow in popularity," the Los Angeles Times writes in an article about the Canalys numbers. The large-screen smartphone devices are "buyers' first Internet-enabled devices of choice," Canalys says.

I've written about the demise of the traditional small-screened smartphone before in "Phablets to replace smartphones, implies new survey,"

In that May 2015 survey, Kantar Worldpanel, a market researcher said that it had found that large smartphones had grabbed a 21% U.S. market share in Q1 2015.


Why the move from small smartphones? Hybrid tablet/smartphones, called phablets have a larger screen so they can be better for games and work. It's easier to read and work on documents.

Larger phones also have more space for components—meaning they can be more powerful.

But it was screen size that was the main reason for purchasing a particular smartphone in the Kantar Worldpanel survey. Both Apple and Android buyers said then that it was the main reason, the survey found.

One can assume that this shift towards larger screens in phones means tablets ultimately become redundant.


But PCs have also seen a slowdown lately. Global PC shipments fell 7% in Q1 2015, Canalys said in May. Those statistics included tablets.

The reasons, Canalys stated then, included that the desktop market was no longer benefiting from shipments driven by XP migration.

"As a result, we expect to see significant shipment declines in 2015 when compared to 2014," Rushabh Doshi, a Canalys Analyst, said on its website.

Other reasons that came in to play included inventory issues related to some screen sizes, according to Canalys. Windows 10 anticipation, with its free upgrade plans, was another.


But numbers and theory aside, a perusal of fellow workers, commuters, and friends' connectivity habits (in mature markets) has to reinforce the idea that large-screened smartphone is becoming a go-to gadget.

And as the price of the devices comes down—as they are—I see no reason, as I look to my left-and-right, why this trend won't continue. Watch out PCs and tablets.

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