Tab for Xmas, Mr Consumer? Yes please. And Mr Busin... NOPE

UK tab sales reach 1.5m in Q4... just 4,900 Windows 8 tabs sold

The slab revolution in UK consumer land continued over Chrimbo but many biz customers are still struggling to justify wider deployments and most of those that did steered well clear of Windows 8.

Disties shipped a total of 1.5 million tabs in Q4, a hike of 53.1 per cent on a year ago. Some 16.4 per cent of these went via biz channels to punters working at corporate enterprises or SMBs, versus 16.1 per cent a year earlier.

Obviously there are a couple of factors at play here: it was the Christmas period which skewed results in favour of retail, and though the proportion of sales remain unchanged, the market did grow.

"Adoption by businesses picked up a little," said Context senior analyst Marie-Christine Pygott, "but it remains overall quite small".

Businesses are sticking with PCs because in many cases they don't require touch capability and may have heard terrible mixed reviews about Microsoft's latest OS, she said.

Some businesses operating in verticals – including health and retail where usage scenarios are clearer – are testing pads, said Context, but Pygott added that corporate world mass adoption is not happening.

High profile deployments include the Met, which is to roll out 15,000 iPads as a crime-thwarting tool, and Insight's deal with Barclays Bank, which saw 8,500 iPads distributed across UK operations.

In fact iOS-based tabs accounted for 68 per cent of UK biz sales in Q4 compared to Android's 30 per cent, while machines carrying a Windows 8 or 8.1 badge made up just two per cent of shipments.

This equates to a little over 4,900 Windows 8 tabs being sold via distribution. Context said that due to vendor confidentiality it was unable to break down the names of companies selling those systems, but we suspect Microsoft's Surface featured heavily.

So much for HP's predictions that Apple will lose in corporate pads because IT managers prefer Windows.

Blighty's tech channel was the largest seller of tabs in Europe, with disties in Germany reporting sales of 950k. Android held 77 per cent of total sales, up from 54 per cent a year ago and Apple dropped to 22 per cent, with Windows accounting to 0.7 per cent.

During this quarter, some 680k notebooks (including 1,000 netbooks) shipped via UK distributors, a decline of 1.8 per cent. As a standalone form factor, notebook shipments grew 5.9 per cent.

Pygott said she expected notebooks to more than hold their own against tabs in business environments, boosted by growing interest in the ultra portable segment. ®

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