Huawei was the only major tablet maker to increase tablet volumes in the third quarter, driven by demand in China and Russia, as the rest of the top five reported lower sales to retailers and distributors.
Tablet shipments fell 8.8 percent year over year to 38.6 million units in the three months ended September, the fifth straight decline, and Chromebooks fared even worse in the quarter.
“After massive growth in 2020 and 2021, the tablet market was expected to decline in 2022. The market is now experiencing not only subdued demand but also some strong macroeconomic headwinds,” said IDC research analyst Anuroopa Naturaj. “Even though most tablets (Android) and Chromebooks are cheaper, we’re seeing buyer concerns at the lowest level right now. It’s mostly driven by economic concerns.”
IDC said Chinese vendors, particularly Huawei, have used demand for cheaper devices to “do well in Russia,” where sanctions have prevented Western technology makers from selling equipment.
Apple’s sales fell 1.1 percent to 14.5 million, according to IDC estimates. Samsung decreased by 4 percent to 7.1 million, Amazon by 8.1 percent to 4.3 million, Lenovo by 36.6 percent to 2.7 million, Huawei by 2 percent to 2.4 million.
In results released late last week, Apple said iPad end-user sales rose 21 percent to $8.3 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter of ’22, which ended Sept. 30, despite supply constraints. IDC tracks sales per channel, hence the difference in numbers.
Chromebook shipments fell even faster, down 34.4 percent year-over-year to 4.3 million devices. This was the fifth straight decline for this sector of the PC industry. The downward trajectory began in the United States, which accounted for 70 percent of global shipments. The buying frenzy during the lockdown meant that verticals, including education, were saturated and would not require replacement for some time.
IDC Group Vice President Ryan Reith said that while Chromebooks may face challenges in the industry, “not all of them are due to platform limitations.”
IDC put Acer as the market leader with 1 million shipments, albeit down 23.8 percent from a year ago. Dell decreased by 19.9 percent to 900 thousand units, HP decreased by 26.8 percent to 800 thousand, Lenovo decreased by 54.8 percent to 700 thousand, Samsung decreased by 37 percent to 300 thousand.
Reith added: “We believe Chromebooks will continue to play a key role in personal computing and will ultimately outpace other existing platforms.
“But as the industry adapts to this new environment we live in, growth will continue to slow down. We’ve seen many major PC brands prioritize opportunities in the Windows PC space. The Chrome market will continue to move slowly.”
The old saying goes, “What goes up must come down,” and this Halloween, tablets and Chromebooks certainly hit the ground running. ®