Consumers' enthusiasm for ultra-slim and detachable devices revitalises PC and Tablet markets in Western Europe, says IDC


Aug 23, 2016

22 Aug 2016

LONDON, August 22, 2016 — According to the latest results published by International Data Corporation (IDC), ultraslim notebooks and detachables posted positive results in the second quarter of 2016, growing 8.6% and 192.3% YoY respectively. Approximately one in every five PCs shipped in Western Europe this quarter was an ultraslim notebook, while one in four tablets shipped was a detachable in both the consumer and commercial segments. The results show good traction for these devices in spite of market challenges, as the penetration of both form factors continued to progress. In fact, the overall Western European personal computer device market continued to contract in 2016Q2, with PC and tablet shipments stabilizing at 17.2 million units (3.4% YoY decline).

If on one hand the PC market experienced a 1.6% YoY decline, on the other hand ultraslim notebooks performed very well. Ultraslims gained ground in 2016Q2 as their shipments represented 28.5% of overall notebook volumes, increasing share from 27.0% last year. Consumer demand drove the majority of ultraslim growth, as it increased by 20.5% YoY. This proves that new portable solutions are becoming more attractive for consumers if the benefits of products, such as longer battery life, are clearly promoted. The commercial segment continued to be dominated by traditional notebooks as costs remained a strong decision driver. However, the majority of ultraslims are in the commercial segment, which remained fairly flat compared with last year (0.7% YoY decrease).

"Consumers are increasingly looking at performance, thinness, weight, battery life and display quality when they purchase new devices or replace old ones" said Andrea Minonne, research analyst, IDC EMEA Personal Computing. "They prefer more frequently thin and light solutions that are high-performing and easy to carry around. Ultraslim notebooks allow for flexibility and address consumer mobile needs well. The results show a great performance for ultraslims and highlight their strong growth potential across Western Europe."

In fact, after the launch of the MacBook Air, many vendors launched new products to compete in this market and expand their customer base, such as Dell with its XPS model and Lenovo with the Ultrabooks family. Apple remains dominant in this product category, accounting for over a third of the overall 2016Q2 ultraslim market share in Western Europe. HP is right behind but is gaining ground compared with last year, thanks to the success of Spectre. Lenovo's ultraslim models (Thinkpad X1) maintained the same share compared with last year, despite experiencing growth.

Among this product category, Chromebook are gaining momentum and experiencing high growth, especially in the Nordics. As we are in the Nordics' back-to-school season, many vendors pushed shipments in 2016Q2, in particular targeting the education sector in the region, where the adoption of this form factor is taking off. Volumes are still low, as Chromebook are in early adoption stage among schools, but the growth potential is promising, especially in Sweden (59.7% YoY increase in 2016Q2).

Similarly to ultraslims, detachables are experiencing interesting growth in Western Europe, as shipments rose from 0.5 million in 2015Q2 to 1.6 million units in 2016Q2, in contrast with the 6.0% decline of the tablet market. Detachables performed strongly across all Western Europe, posting triple-digit growth in all countries. Surface continued to be the most widely adopted detachable in the commercial segment, while iPad Pro reached first position in the consumer segment. Detachables posted strong growth in both consumer and commercial, showing that interest in this form factor continues to be on the rise in both segments. Despite the rapid growth in both segments, the drivers behind their performance differ between them.

"The interest in detachables in the commercial segment is generated by the number of premium devices available in the market and the increasing number of use cases in which detachables emerge as the optimal solution. While deployments are not massive, since detachables are mainly adopted either to address specific vertical needs or by top executive ranks, the number of companies adopting them is clearly picking up as some of the classic concerns such as device performance are being tackled by this wave of new releases" said Daniel Gonçalves, research analyst, IDC EMEA Personal Computing. "On the other hand the penetration of detachables in the consumer segment is driven by many local vendors and white brands moving away from the already saturated slate space dominated by Android. These players keep targeting market share in the entry-level space, and now they also supply 9- or 10-inch screen size, Windows-based devices with basic features and keyboard capabilities."

Detachable and ultraslim gains are contributing to Windows regaining ground. Windows continued to lead, accounting for 44.8% of the combined PC and tablet market. The Windows performance was stronger across tablets than PCs. In fact, Windows grew by 25.5% in tablets, while it declined by 1.6% YoY in the PC market. Awareness of Windows 10 continued to increase, but many companies are still running on Windows 7 platforms and need time and budget to transfer all their legacy applications to the new OS version. However, Windows 10 is continuing to fail to impact positively on hardware renewals. Android/Chrome OS ranked second, with Android being the most preferred OS in the tablet market (73.4% share). Chrome OS adoption was still marginal compared with other OS, but it is the one experiencing the highest growth in the PC market (53.4% YoY increase). Chromebooks are performing strongly, especially in the Nordics, where shipments are high especially in education prior to the back-to-school season. Apple OS X/iOS ranked third and remains the most popular OS in the premium segment. OS X / iOS-based devices accounted for 35.9% market share in the >€1000 price point in the overall computing device spectrum. The new iPad Air Pro 9.7'' released in March contributed to Apple reaching the leading position in the 2016Q2 detachables vendor ranking.

In conclusion, 2016Q2 confirmed that in Western Europe new form factors continue to progress. A whole fresh ecosystem of operating systems, new models, and processors are increasing their penetration on the market. Combined, they provide portability, enhance the computing experience for consumers and target the mobility needs of many enterprises. These new form factors also bring more profitability to most manufacturers, which is a key reason of their focus, as competition in the entry-level space with more traditional product categories remains fierce.

Western Europe PCs and Tablets: OS Trends

2016Q2 (Calendar Year, 000 Units)


Unit Shipments 2015Q2

Unit Shipments 2016Q2

Unit % Share 2015Q2

Unit % Share 2016Q2

Unit Growth 2015Q2 vs 2016Q2







Android/Chrome OS


















Grand total






Note: Tablets include slate and detachable tablets. According to IDC's Taxonomy, a detachable tablet — previously referred to by IDC as a 2-in-1 — is designed to function as a standalone slate/tablet as well as a clamshell device through the addition of a physical detachable keyboard, specifically designed for the given tablet.

The Nordic region includes Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden.

IDC's Quarterly PC and Tablet Tracker provides unmatched market coverage and forecasts for the entire device space, covering PCs and tablets, in more than 80 countries — providing fast, essential, and comprehensive market information across the entire personal computing device market.

For more information on IDC's EMEA Quarterly PC and Tablet Tracker or other IDC client computing research services, contact Vice President Karine Paoli on +44 (0) 20 8987 7218 or at [email protected].

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,100 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries worldwide. For 50 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting

For more information, contact:

Chrystelle Labesque

+44 (0) 20 8987 7229

Daniel Goncalves

+44 (0) 20 8987 7142

Andrea Minonne

+44 (0) 20 8987 7181

Contact For more information, contact:

Daniel Goncalves [email protected] +44 (0) 20 8987 7142

Andrea Minonne [email protected] +44 (0) 20 8987 7181

Chrystelle Labesque [email protected] 44 (0) 20 8987 7229

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