Tablet Market Sees Revival Ahead of Holiday Season with New Entrants

Global tablet shipments have reached 33 million in the third quarter of 2023, signaling a 7 percent annual decline, according to the most recent data from Canalys.
tablet business trends in Q3 2023 CanalysHowever, there is a more positive side to this story, as this figure represents an 8 percent sequential increase, indicating a resurgence in the tablet market just in time for the critical holiday season. This revival can be attributed to the strong performance of new players entering the tablet space.

Top tablet suppliers are: Apple (with 38.3 percent share), Samsung (19 percent), Lenovo (8 percent), Huawei (5.7 percent) and Xiaomi (4.9 percent) share during the third quarter of 2023.

AI Integration Becomes Key for Tablet Vendors

Leading companies in the tablet industry, such as Apple and Samsung, have already expressed their intentions to incorporate AI experiences into their devices. Himani Mukka, Research Manager at Canalys, emphasized the importance of tablet vendors prioritizing the integration of generative AI capabilities into their devices to remain competitive.

“As PCs and smartphones are gearing up for significant advances in on-device AI, vendors must ensure that their tablets keep pace to deliver consistency in user experiences and maintain interoperability across the device ecosystem,” Himani Mukka said.

Smartphone Manufacturers Gain Ground in the Tablet Market

The tablet market landscape is witnessing the entry of smartphone manufacturers, especially those from China, who are bringing innovative offerings and competitive pricing. In the third quarter of 2023, Huawei and Xiaomi managed to surpass Amazon in the vendor rankings.

Apple continued to lead the pack, shipping 12.5 million iPads, capturing a 38 percent market share in Q3. Samsung held the second position, shipping 6.2 million tablets, although this represented a 6 percent decline. Lenovo shipped 2.6 million tablets, maintaining its third-place position. Huawei and Xiaomi secured the fourth and fifth spots, respectively, with Xiaomi making its debut in the top five with the highest growth among the major vendors.

IDC report

Meanwhile, the International Data Corporation (IDC) announced that worldwide tablet shipments experienced a significant decline of 14.2 percent year over year during the third quarter of 2023 (3Q23), with total shipments amounting to 33.2 million units.

“The first three quarters of 2023 recorded some of the largest contractions in the tablet market, and the upcoming holiday season isn’t expected to be very different. With no dramatic improvements in macroeconomic conditions, project and purchase delays are expected to be pushed further into 2024,” stated Anuroopa Nataraj, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers.

Despite these challenges, there is hope for the tablet market. Nataraj noted that a refresh in the education segment and the increasing use of tablets across various verticals may help sustain the tablet market in the long run. However, the immediate future doesn’t appear to hold any significant uptick in tablet sales.

The key to success for tablet manufacturers seems to lie in recognizing that tablets work best when they complement, rather than compete with, PCs and smartphones. According to Jitesh Ubrani, research manager with IDC’s Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, “We expect other tablet makers to follow suit by offering a more unified software and services experience.”