01 Feb 2021
Worldwide Tablet Shipments Return to Growth in 2020, Fueled by Unprecedented Demand, According to IDC
FRAMINGHAM, Mass., February 1, 2021 – The worldwide tablet market had an outstanding fourth quarter (4Q20) with 19.5% year-over-year growth and shipments totaling 52.2 million units, according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. Impacted by the pandemic, the tablet market reached shipment levels not seen since the fourth quarter of 2017 when the total was 49.9 million.
Detachable tablets have broadened their presence in the market as the emphasis on productivity, flexibility, and ease of use is now greater than ever before and sales for this category were often in direct competition with notebooks. Shipments for detachable tablets grew 27.9% during the quarter as both Microsoft and Apple helped push the form factor with their respective products. Additionally, backlogs for PCs led some consumers to purchase these detachable tablets in place of notebooks. Meanwhile, slate tablets also grew 13.7% during the quarter as consumers sought ways to stay entertained.
"Unprecedented demand in the consumer and education segments due to work from home and online learning has undoubtedly led to the resurgence in tablet demand," said Anuroopa Nataraj, research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. "However, the category is not expected to retain this momentum in the long term as it still faces immense competition from notebooks and smartphones."
Tablet Company Highlights
Apple once again led the tablet market with 36.5% market share and year-over-year growth of 19.5% during 4Q20. The new iPad 10.2" and iPad Air 10.9" tablets launched in the last two quarters helped drive sales during the holiday quarter. With the pandemic restrictions still in effect and remote learning still the primary mode of teaching, there were several big deployments of iPads in the education segment.
Samsung retained second place with 19.4% share and exceptional year-over-year growth of 44.9%. The company shipped 10.1 million units in the quarter and 31.3 million units for 2020. It is still the largest provider of Android slate tablets with successful products such as the Galaxy Tab A and Galaxy Tab S6 Lite. Meanwhile, the vendor's earnest efforts at making Android more productive and usable in a detachable form factor have helped the brand maintain a premium over other Android competitors.
Lenovo captured the third spot with global shipments of 5.6 million units and 120.6% year-over-year growth in 4Q20. Slates accounted for the majority of Lenovo's tablet sales; however, their detachable portfolio has shown some momentum with the recently launched Chromebook Duet producing a gain of nearly 2.5 percentage points for detachable tablets. Western Europe and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) remain the largest markets for Lenovo’s tablet business.
Amazon.com held the fourth position in 4Q20 with 7.6% year-over-year growth and shipments totaling 3.6 million. The United States remains the biggest market for Amazon tablets, followed by Western Europe. With budget-friendly tablets Amazon has created a sweet spot for itself and the Fire Kids edition tablets have gained in popularity, especially during the pandemic as parents searched for ways to keep their kids indoors and entertained.
Huawei rounded out the top 5 with 3.3 million units in 4Q20 for a year-over-year decline of 25.7%. U.S. sanctions continued to derail the company's plans for success. However, the company's strong presence in China remains a bright spot for the brand.
Top Five Tablet Companies, Worldwide Shipments, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q4 2020 (Preliminary results, combined company view for the current quarter only, shipments in millions)
4Q20 Market Share
4Q19 Market Share
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly PCD Tracker, February 1, 2021
Top Five Tablet Companies, Worldwide Shipments, Market Share, and Growth, Calendar Year 2020 (Preliminary results, combined company view for the current quarter only, shipments in millions)
2020 Unit Shipments
2020 Market Share
2019 Market Share
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly PCD Tracker, February 1, 2021
- Data is preliminary and subject to change. Some IDC estimates prior to financial earnings reports. Data for all companies are reported for calendar periods.
- Total tablet market includes slate tablets plus detachable tablets. References to "tablets" in this release include both slate tablets and detachable devices.
- "Convertibles" refers to convertible notebooks, which are notebook PCs that have keyboards that can either flip, spin, or twist, but unlike detachable tablets, convertible notebook keyboards are hardwired to the display.
- Shipments include shipments to distribution channels or end users. OEM sales are counted under the company/brand under which they are sold.
- The "Company" represents the current parent company (or holding company) for all brands owned and operated as subsidiary.
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International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,100 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC's analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world's leading tech media, data and marketing services company. To learn more about IDC, please visit www.idc.com. Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC and LinkedIn. Subscribe to the IDC Blog for industry news and insights: http://bit.ly/IDCBlog_Subscribe.
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