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Tablets beat forecasts

Most tablet vendors beat expectations in the first quarter of 2022, and Apple iPad shipments grew for the first time compared to the holiday quarter

The ripple effects of the Covid-19 pandemic continue to impact the tablet market and produced some surprising results in Q1 2022, according to a new report by Strategy Analytics. High demand persists while vendors wrestle with supply constraints and logistical issues also stemming from the pandemic, now in Year Three. Considering this context, Samsung, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple met this twin challenge with impressive growth rates. A better than expected start to 2022 may be short-lived, however, as Covid-19 restrictions in China, additional logistic and inflationary pressures, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine all threaten to hold back supply going forward.

Eric Smith, director of connected computing at Strategy Analytics, says: “Tablet demand never really went away despite shipment declines for the last three quarters. This has all been about vendors managing the twin challenges of persistent demand and supply constraints. Samsung, Amazon, and Microsoft pulled off great quarters given all the macro-level challenges with fresh portfolios and strong distribution strategies. Apple’s recovery from the supply constraints of last quarter was equally impressive as they actually grew shipments sequentially. That’s unheard of in this business, but with more disruptive factors at play, we should come to expect the unexpected.”

Chirag Upadhyay, industry analyst at Strategy Analytics, says: “Android tablet market share is at a new low of 50%, but competition has heated up among Android vendors looking to grab market share from Huawei’s smaller device footprint as well as the fast-shrinking white box market. Lenovo has been growing for more than two years with this strategy but Xiaomi, Honor, Realme, Oppo, and even Nokia have recently jumped into the tablet market, creating new dynamics in mainland China and a handful of markets in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Europe.”

  • Apple iPadOS shipments (sell-in) fell -6% year-on-year to 15.8 million units in Q1 2022, with worldwide market share climbing 1.7 percentage points to 39% as the vendor outpaced the market; compared to the holiday quarter when Apple was severely supply-constrained, shipments were actually 1% higher quarter-on-quarter
  • Samsung led the Android market with only a -1.2% year-on-year decline in Q1 2022 to 8.2 million units; market share increased by 1.8 percentage points to 20% during the same period
  • Amazon was right behind Samsung growth-wise with a -1.3% annual decline with 3.7 million shipments; market share grew 0.8 percentage points to 9%
  • Lenovo tablet shipments fell once again after two years of growth but the company retained its #4 ranking globally as competition has heated up from smaller Chinese vendors; Lenovo shipments declined -20% year-on-year to 3.0 million units in Q1 2022 and market share fell -0.9 percentage point year-on-year to 7%
  • For the second quarter in a row, Microsoft broke into the #5 ranking globally in Q1 2022 with 1.4 million tablets shipped at a 1% annual growth rate; it was the only vendor in the top five to show growth. Market share increased by 0.4 percentage points to 3%
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