Editor's take: Sales of consumer electronics in general soared during the pandemic as people sought to keep themselves entertained during the height of stay-at-home orders. People were also buying computers for makeshift work-from-home offices. This unprecedented buying behavior wasn't going to last forever and now that things are starting to get back to normal, we are seeing spending - and thus, shipments - come back down from the stratosphere.
Tablet shipment growth was flat in the second quarter of 2022 but the story is even worse for Chromebooks as shipments declined sharply over the last three months compared to the same time a year ago.
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, worldwide tablet shipments totaled 40.5 million units during Q2. That represents year-over-year growth of just 0.15 percent according to the preliminary data and is the result of smoother deployments into educational projects as well as multiple promotional sales like Amazon Prime Day.
It might not seem like it, but the tablet market performed better than expected given geopolitical issues, inflation concerns and continued Covid restrictions in China.
Anuroopa Nataraj, a senior research analyst with IDC's mobility and consumer device trackers, said there are several factors working in favor of tablets including continued demand for cheaper alternatives to PCs and the proliferation of low-cost detachables from newcomers in the Asia / Pacific region.
Shipments of Chromebooks, meanwhile, continued to decline. IDC's preliminary data reveals that shipments dipped 51.4 percent to six million units in Q2 2022 compared to the same period a year earlier. Such declines were anticipated as excess inventory is still being cleared out and demand among education customers has declined. Still, shipment volumes are above pre-pandemic levels and there are additional opportunities to be had.
Chrome adoption grew during the pandemic as the need for remote learning accelerated schools' plans to reach a 1:1 ratio of PC to student. "This ratio will likely continue to hold in the future and even if PC shipments decline in other categories, Chrome will continue at these elevated levels," said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC's mobility and consumer device trackers.