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Tablet sales hit 7-year high

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A years-long strategy to transform tablets into low-cost productivity devices is finally paying off. This preparation by major vendors served critical needs in the back-to-school season, as consumers and educational institutions bought a record number of tablets to support the transition to e-learning environments, according to Strategy Analytics’ latest report. As the world approaches a second wave of infections ahead of a long, dark winter, tablets are proving to be credible mobile computing alternatives to notebooks, even as both segments are experiencing record levels of demand in 2020.

Eric Smith, director of connected computing at Strategy Analytics says, “We are potentially entering a new era of mobile computing that places a stronger emphasis on productivity in the household, boosting overall mobile computing ownership. Tablets are rightly being recognized for the productivity power they provide at a lower price point than most notebooks while doubling up on the strong entertainment and casual usage in a time when many people are consuming content at home during the pandemic. So while these incredibly high growth rates in 2020 are the result of pandemic-related lockdowns, we see this as part of a longer-term work and learn-from-home trend rather than just a blip on the radar.”

Chirag Upadhyay, senior research analyst says, “The variety of Android options throughout all price tiers helped vendors reach a wide audience as low-cost options for schooling from home; even basic slate tablets are capable of many primary school workloads. Samsung, Lenovo, and Huawei experienced higher shipments and profitability during the quarter in most regions. It is important to note that these three vendors are also on the cutting edge of producing high quality Android and Chrome Detachables at prices generally lower than the iPad competition. Due to shifting Prime Day from July to October in 2020, Amazon showed a -8% year-on-year growth decline during the quarter even with nearly 5 million units shipped.”

Exhibit 1: Most Tablet Vendors Achieved High Double-Digit Growth in Q3 2020

Global Tablet Shipments by Vendor
(Preliminary Results, Millions of Units)

Vendor Q3 ’20 Q3 ’19 Quarterly Growth Y/Y
Apple 15.1 10.1 49%
Samsung 9.4 5.0 87%
Huawei 5.1 3.2 59%
Amazon 4.9 5.3 -8%
Lenovo 4.1 2.5 61%
Others 12.1 11.8 2%
Totals 50.6 38.1 33%

Global Tablet Market Share by Vendor
(Preliminary Results, % of Total Shipments)

Vendor Q3 ’20 Q3 ’19
Apple 29.8% 26.6%
Samsung 18.6% 13.2%
Huawei 10.1% 8.4%
Amazon 9.6% 14.0%
Lenovo 8.1% 6.7%
Others 23.8% 31.1%
Totals 100.0% 100.0%

Exhibit 2: Apple iPadOS Grabbed Market Share from Android and Windows Segments


Global Tablet Shipments by Operating System
(Preliminary Results, Millions of Units)

Operating System Q3 ’20 Q3 ’19 Quarterly Growth Y/Y
Android 30.1 23.2 30%
iOS/iPadOS 15.1 10.1 49%
Windows 5.2 4.6 14%
Chrome 0.3 0.1 103%
Totals 50.6 38.1 33%

Global Tablet Market Share by Operating System
(Preliminary Results, % of Total Shipments)

Operating System Q3 ’20 Q3 ’19
Android 59.4% 60.9%
iOS/iPadOS 29.8% 26.6%
Windows 10.3% 12.1%
Chrome 0.5% 0.4%
Totals 100.0% 100.0%

1 All figures are rounded

Source: Strategy Analytics, Inc.

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