Tablet Shipments Experience Sharp Decline in Q2 2023 as Consumer Spending Slows

The global tablet market faced a significant setback as both consumers and enterprises tightened their belts and reduced spending on devices during the second quarter of 2023. According to reports from leading market research firms IDC and Canalys, tablet shipments plummeted, indicating a notable drop in demand.
Q2 2023 tablet market growth

IDC report

IDC report revealed that tablet shipments recorded a staggering decline of 29.9 percent in Q2 2023, with the total number of units reaching a mere 28.3 million. The continued weakness in demand for tablets resulted in most top vendors experiencing double-digit declines in sales. The prevailing factors behind this downturn were the persistently low consumer confidence and purchasing power.

Adding to the woes, elevated levels of channel inventory acted as headwinds for new tablet shipments. However, there is optimism that this issue will gradually ease in the coming months, potentially offering some relief to the struggling market.

Chromebook shipments also experienced a slight contraction in Q2 2023, totaling 5.8 million units, representing a decline of 1.8 percent. Despite this modest setback, the decline was relatively minimal due to pull-in orders from H2 2023. These orders were driven by the expectation of an increase in Chrome OS licensing cost in the latter half of the year.

Among the tablet manufacturers, Apple emerged as the market leader, shipping 10.5 million units. However, even the tech giant was not immune to the market downturn, as it recorded a decline of 16.8 percent in tablet shipments during the quarter.

Samsung secured the second spot in overall tablet shipments, with 5.8 million units shipped. Nevertheless, the company faced an 18.3 percent decline, mainly attributed to weak demand in the market.

Lenovo witnessed a notable shift, moving up to the third position in the tablet market with a shipment volume of 2.1 million units. Despite facing a significant decline of 38.8 percent year over year, Lenovo managed to grow 12.9 percent quarter over quarter. This growth spurt was driven by increased marketing efforts during several promotional events at the start of its fiscal year.

Chinese companies Huawei and Xiaomi occupied the fourth and fifth positions, respectively. Huawei shipped 1.7 million units but faced a decline of 22.9 percent year over year. On the other hand, Xiaomi made a remarkable debut in the top 5 with shipments of 1.0 million units, experiencing a substantial increase of 41.6 percent.

Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC’s Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, commented on the tablet market’s dynamics, pointing out the emergence of a bifurcation. iPads from Apple continued to dominate the high-end segment, while brands such as Xiaomi and Lenovo proliferated within the low-end market. This scenario posed challenges for the mid-market, as consumers gravitated towards the extremes in pricing.

Anuroopa Nataraj, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, highlighted the impact of economic conditions on tablet deployments. The prevailing trend favored products with more features at an economically friendly price point, particularly in emerging markets, where they offered high value to consumers.

As the tablet market experiences headwinds, manufacturers are likely to adapt their strategies to cater to the shifting consumer demands and explore new opportunities for growth in the competitive landscape.

Canalys report

Canalys report said the tablet market faced a setback in the second quarter of 2023. Tablet shipments experienced an 11 percent drop, totaling 31.0 million units. This sequential decline from Q1 indicates the lowest volume of global tablet shipments since Q1 2020.
Q2 2023 Chromebook sales

The Chromebook market saw some positive developments during the same period. Chromebook shipments witnessed a 1 percent annual increase, reaching 5.9 million units. The boost came from the resurgence of demand in the education sector, particularly with the back-to-school season in North America proving fruitful.

While the decline in the tablet market represents an improvement compared to the 13 percent drop experienced in Q1 2023, it still poses challenges for major tablet vendors. Despite a 14 percent annual decline in shipments, Apple remained the leading tablet vendor, shipping 12.3 million units, accounting for nearly two-fifths of the global tablet market.

Samsung secured the second position, shipping 6.0 million tablets despite facing a 14 percent annual decline in shipments. On the other hand, third-placed Amazon and fourth-placed Lenovo experienced the largest declines among major tablet vendors, with shipments down 33 percent and 39 percent, respectively. Huawei occupied the fifth spot in the rankings, shipping 1.7 million units.

Himani Mukka, Research Manager at Canalys, pointed out that with the PC and smartphone markets also facing challenges, vendors selling tablets have an additional opportunity to target specific sectors like consumer, commercial, and education. The market is expected to receive a boost in the second half of the year due to seasonally stronger demand, new product launches, aggressive go-to-market strategies, and promotional activities.

However, Mukka also noted that the productivity gap between tablets and PCs may widen, potentially impacting their role as notebook replacements. As Intel and AMD focus on developing “AI PCs,” tablets might face competition as AI functionality becomes crucial for worker productivity.

On the other hand, the global Chromebook market experienced minor growth in Q2 2023 after seven consecutive quarters of decline. HP emerged as the leading Chromebook vendor, gaining over 10 percent market share as shipments grew 69 percent from the previous year. Lenovo held the second position with a 15 percent growth in Chromebook shipments, while Dell underwent a 15 percent decline, shipping around 1.3 million units.

Acer and Asus ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, but both vendors lost market share compared to the previous year.

Kieren Jessop, Research Analyst at Canalys, attributed the return to growth in Chromebooks to strong demand in the US education sector. The US accounted for 81 percent of global Chromebook shipments in Q2 2023, surpassing its average share since the start of the pandemic.