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Pandemic tablet sales boom rolls over into 2021

Tablet shipments are up 55 per cent on the same period last year. The 2020 tablet sales boom that started when the world went into lockdown rolled over into the first quarter of 2021.

IDC reports almost 40 million tablets were shipped in the quarter. It says the market hasn’t seen growth of this magnitude since 2013.

Demand for tablets remains high. IDC says it expects strong numbers to continue for a while yet.

Chromebook surge

Meanwhile some 13 million Chromebooks shipped in the quarter. This compares with 2.8 million in the same period a year ago. Growth was a stunning 357 per cent.

We don’t see as much Chromebook activity in New Zealand as elsewhere. That could change, but most education sales activity here seems to be around low-cost conventional laptops and tablets.

Apple dominates tablet sales boom

Apple’s iPad remains the star tablet performer ahead of Samsung, Lenovo and Amazon, in that order.

IDC says the iPad accounted for 31.7 per cent of shipments in the quarter. A total of 12.7 million iPads left Apple’s warehouses during the period. Year-on-year growth was a 64 per cent.

A rival research company, Strategy Analytics, says iPad shipments were up 75 per cent. It counted a total of 16.8 million.

There’s a significant spread between the two market share estimates. Either way, iPad sales are surging.

Apple’s most recent financial reports noted the company made US$7.8 billion revenue from iPad alone during the quarter. That’s up 79 per cent on the previous year’s revenue.

Things could be as strong this quarter. A week ago Apple announced the first iPad Pro model to use the company’s M1 processor and a mini-Led display.

Samsung strong

Samsung remains in second place with 20 per cent of the market. It moved eight million units and saw shipments grow 61 per cent.

Lenovo more than doubled its shipment numbers to 3.8 million. That’s a shade under 10 percent of the market. Growth was 138 per cent.

We don’t see much of Amazon’s tablets in New Zealand. In the first quarter the company moved into fourth place ahead of Huawei which slipped from third place a year ago.

HP dominates Chromebook shipments, it accounted for one-in-three units during the first quarter. Shipments are up 633 per cent.

Lenovo is in second place with a 25 per cent market share. Shipments are up 350 per cent. Samsung is a smaller player with only eight per cent market share, but shipments climbed 500 per cent. Now that’s a tablet sales boom in itself.

Phone shipments have shown similar growth in 2021