Worldwide Tablet Shipments Down to Pre-Pandemic Levels in 1Q23

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Vendors are set to find opportunities in the commercial and education settings as well as in the premium consumer segment, says Canalys

According to the latest data released by Canalys, global tablet shipments fell to 31.7 million units after witnessing an 18% year-on-year decline in the first quarter of 2023. Calling it “the lowest number of shipments” since the onset of the pandemic in Q1 2020, the report added that in the short term, shipments are expected to stay close to the pre-pandemic levels. As a silver lining, though, vendors are expected to benefit from opportunities in the premium consumer segment and from increased deployments in commercial and education environments.

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Among tablet brands, Apple stole the show by shipping 12.4 million units worldwide, though it underwent a 17% year-on-year decline. Samsung stood next with 6.7 million units shipped, posting a 14% decline, noted Canalys. Amazon, Lenovo and Huawei grabbed the remaining seats respectively, with Lenovo facing a whopping fall of 37%, the largest decline of all the five.

Canalys noted that the huge decline in Q1 2023 followed a quarter in which strong promotional activity helped keep the market afloat with 1% growth. As per Himani Mukka, Research Manager at Canalys, a drop in demand for tablets after the holidays is always expected. But, she continued, 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 prioritizing working through high inventory levels as they recalibrate expectations for more modest, predictable demand. But 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 in pursuing this strategy,” said Mukka.

Commenting that tablet vendors will have future growth opportunities from commercial and education deployments beyond consumers, the expert further added, “There has been some stagnation in procurement from businesses and the public sector amid economic challenges, but budgets are set to rematerialize. Education demand in Asian markets will be a big volume driver, particularly for low-to-mid-range Android devices, while digitalization 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.”

Canalys is an independent analyst company which delivers smart market insights to IT, channel and service provider professionals around the world.


 

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