The PC market jumped 17% in Q2, but tablet shipments stalled


Posts: 7,162   +64
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In brief: With the pandemic altering many people’s working lives from in-office to at-home or hybrid, the PC market continues to flourish. According to a new report, second-quarter sales were up 16.6% compared to the same period last year, reaching a total of 36.8 million shipments. But while it’s good news for PC makers, tablet sales have stagnated.

The latest quarterly figures from market research firm Canalys show that total shipments for desktops, notebooks, tablets, and workstations saw annual growth of almost 17% YoY, with notebooks the best performer of the group, managing a 27% increase. Desktops weren’t that far behind, with a 23% jump over Q2 2020.

Four of the top five companies experienced annual growth in double figures. The only exception was second-place Apple, which declined –2.8% in the quarter. Its notebooks, however, were up 24%, helped by the popularity of the M1-powered MacBooks.

Elsewhere, HP led the way with a 21.9% market share, up 0.7% compared to Q2 2020, followed by Apple, Dell, Lenovo, and Samsung, the latter of which enjoyed the most significant yearly growth: 51.4%.

"It is clear now that pandemic-related use cases will extend well into the future," said Brian Lynch, Research Analyst at Canalys. "This points toward a significant refresh opportunity in the future – fantastic news for PC vendors and their channel and ecosystem partners. The commercial and education segments have exploded, triggering tremendous refresh potential. The US economy has bounced back well from its pandemic woes and small businesses are recovering, which will lead to a wave of purchasing from the segment."

The news wasn’t as good for tablets. The fourth quarter of 2020 was the segment’s best in six years, thanks to a 40% YoY increase in shipments (19.2 million), but Q2 2021 saw the tablet market contract by -1% YoY to 11.3 million. Apple led the pack, as always, with a 45% share, followed by Amazon (22%) and Samsung (18%).

We’ve seen more companies, including Apple and Facebook, delay their planned “return to the office” dates as a result of the Covid Delta variant, leading to extra demand for PCs. “The US PC industry is set for a bright future. Whether it be work, school or leisure at home, PCs are in users’ hands more than ever. The integration of devices into everyday life points toward a rosy future for the market,” said Lynch.

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Posts: 379   +499
A Laptop is more useful than a tablet, and the market for tablets is pretty well established. Meaning most new tablet purchases are to replace older versions. And when you can easily get half a decade out of one, its easy to see why sales stay steady instead of exploding. An iPad with the keyboard cover is still a worse experience than just using a laptop for school work and overall general usage.


Posts: 1,126   +2,136
Surprised that tablets went back. Issue is that on the android side, most tablets were conceded to the ultra cheap, poorly made, slow as molasses tablets and even with a bit of an effort by Google to revitalize their tablet market with Chromebook tablets and other tablets running ChromeOS instead of Android, they quickly abandoned and now just 1 or 2 companies continue to release tablets with good specs.

Which brings us to Apple and for them well, I feel like the new ipad air with usb c quickly became the tablet to get but after that the M1 ipad pro continues to feel like the hardware vastly surpasses the software and that M1 chip is not being really taken advantage of: A missed opportunity by Apple since they couldn't, or maybe did not want to, find a better compromise between their macbook air and their ipad pro M1 with the macbook air being the clear winner and the ipad air A14 being the "Good enough for a tablet" for people who want a good tablet for drawing and image editing, but still nowhere near a laptop replacement due to limited software.

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,242   +7,013
I lost interest in tablets & laptops when Dell stopped making them easily dock-able with a separate docking station I could come home and plug in. Old fashion as that might seem, it's simply a matter of habit that Dell cultured, then abandoned which is a pity because they worked great.