Global tablet shipment fell 18 percent year on year in Q1 to below pre-pandemic level in Q1 of 2020, according to Canalys.
While shipments are set to hover around pre-pandemic levels in the short term, vendors will benefit from opportunities in the premium consumer segment and from increased deployments in commercial and education environments.
“A drop in demand for tablets after the holidays is always expected, but the cutback in consumer spending amid high inflation has been severe this time around. In addition, there is a more structural correction as the massive demand drivers during the pandemic largely wear off. As a result, tablet vendors and retailers are prioritising working through high inventory levels as they recalibrate expectations for more modest, predictable demand,” said Himani Mukka, Research Manager at Canalys.
The global installed base of tablets grew massively over the last two years so there are significant opportunities to move users up the value chain with future upgrades. Vendors have begun showcasing products that deliver more premium user experiences, whether through chipset innovation, better displays for content consumption or improved productivity functions.
“Reinforcing the importance of the tablet within an ecosystem of interoperable devices will also be important to maintain momentum from the trend of hybrid workstyles. Vendors such as Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi have been successful pursuing this strategy. Beyond consumers, tablet vendors will also see future growth opportunities from commercial and education deployments,” said Mukka.
“Education demand in Asian markets will be a big volume driver, particularly for low-to-mid-range Android devices, while digitalisation in verticals such as healthcare and manufacturing will allow for some workloads to move to tablets. Overall tablet demand is expected to gradually recover in the second half of 2023 and accelerate in 2024, with shipments staying above pre-pandemic levels,” she added.
Apple held the top spot in Q1 with 12.4 million units shipped. However, it too experienced a 17 percent year-on-year decline. Samsung remained in second place with 6.7 million units shipped, dropping 14 percent. Third-placed Amazon shipped 2.5 million units, posting a 30 percent year-on-year drop. Lenovo was next with the largest decline (down 37 percent) among the top five vendors. Huawei finished fifth with a relatively modest decline of 4 percent, buoyed by strong demand in its home market of China.