Tablet shipments return to pre-pandemic levels as Chromebooks crash
But the market could recover this yearBy Rob Thubron
In brief: Just as we've seen with phones, PCs, graphics cards, and other products, tablet shipments have crashed this year, returning to the same levels as before the pandemic. Apple continues to leads the pack, with Samsung in second place as the top Android tablet company.
Research giant IDC writes that tablet shipments declined 19.1% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2023, with 30.7 million units shipped. That figure is comparable to the 30.1 million units shipped in the pre-pandemic days of Q1 2019 and 31.6 million in Q1 2018.
All five of the top tablet vendors posted year-on-year losses for the quarter. Amazon was the biggest loser; its shipments fell -62% from 3.7 million units shipped to 1.4 million. IDC believes this is due to seasonality, piled-up inventory and low demand.
Sanctioned Huawei saw the smallest decline of the quarter, down -9.7% YoY to 2 million units. This was due to Huawei tablets' popularity in its home county of China.
As always, Apple keeps the number one position. A -10.2% yearly decrease saw Cupertino's total shipments fall from 12.1 million to 10.8 million, but a 31.8% market share kept the company on top.
Samsung, whose tablet shipments dropped -14.3% to 7.1 million units, is number two. The Korean firm's 21.8% market share is over three times greater than third-place Huawei's (5.9%).
The overall decline is blamed on the usual reasons: people returning to the office, economic uncertainty, and consumers wary of making large purchases, all of which are weakening demand.
But IDC is optimistic about the future. It writes that signs of global economic recovery, including easing inflation, mean the second half of 2023 may witness some improvements in shipments.
Chromebooks also saw a large quarterly decline compared to a year earlier, down -31% to 3.8 million shipped units. IDC writes that the figure could have been even worse were it not for shipments picking up slightly at the end of the quarter, with some vendors pulling-in orders due to an expected increase in the Chrome OS licensing cost in the second half of 2023.
Only one Chromebook company saw a YoY increase: HP, which grew 35.% to 1.1 million units. It has almost doubled its market share since last year, jumping above Dell, Acer, and Lenovo to take the top spot.