Western Europe tablet sales "dramatically declined" in Q4 2015, as consumers looked to alternative devices such as two-in-one detachables and convertible notebooks, according to analyst Context.
But the market watcher found that the fall in sales in the PC market "softened", driven largely by stock clearance.
Unit shipments of slate tablets for distributors in western Europe fell by 27.5 per cent year on year for Q4 2015, dropping from more than five million to about 3.7 million in the last quarter of 2015.
Germany saw particularly poor performance for the devices, with tablet sales down 43.4 per cent. Spain also saw a plunge in demand, with sales down 31.3 per cent and the UK was down 14.1 per cent.
Context attributed this decline to an upswing in popularity of alternatives including two-in-one detachables, which sold 300,000 units, a year-on-year increase of 31.3 per cent. The analyst also noted a big increase in convertible notebooks, with sales up 84.7 per cent year on year.
Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at Context, said: "To put these figures in perspective, detachables and convertibles comprised 11 per cent of overall notebook unit sales in distribution at the end of last year, and an even larger share (15 per cent) in the consumer space."
Despite falling tablet deals, the PC market fared better, with "a strong focus on stock clearance" helping to see a respite from its recent tumbling numbers. PC distributor sales were largely flat, down only 0.1 per cent year on year for Q4 2015, and this was boosted by notebook sales up 2.7 per cent over the same period.
The UK market saw PC sales up 10 per cent as it suffered fewer currency headaches than the eurozone countries and was boosted by Black Friday shopping. Spain saw PC sales up 8.3 per cent, but Italy saw a decline of 3.3 per cent and France was down 9.2 per cent.
Consumer PC shipments were up 2.9 per cent but business shipments fell by 4.5 per cent year over year.
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