The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic furthered the decline of the worldwide tablet market as global shipments fell to 24.6 million units, down 18.2% year over year during the first quarter of 2020 (1Q20), according to preliminary data from the International Data Corp. (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker.
Detachables continued to grow and gain market share with year-over-year growth of 56.8%, mainly driven by iOS devices, while slate tablets saw shipments decline 36.4% compared to the first quarter of 2019.
Apple continued to be the top vendor although a large number of shipments throughout 2019 and the closure of factories in the first quarter (due to COVID-19) led the company to produce fewer units than expected, leading to a significant decline of 30.4%. However, the company still leads in the detachable market as every iPad with the exception of the mini now offers a detachable keyboard. This positions Apple’s tablet lineup as one that can cater to productivity as much as entertainment.
Samsung retained the number two position and recorded shipment growth of 3.9% year over year. Even with the ongoing global crisis, the company managed to ship five million units in the quarter as many customers resorted to buying devices for e-learning and work from home. There was growth across both the detachable and slate portfolios. Samsung also launched the Galaxy Tab S6 5G, making the company the first vendor to introduce 5G in tablets, however, the model was not released across many geographies.
Huawei shipped three million units in 1Q20 for a year-over-year decline of 8.3%. The company managed to record growth across its detachable portfolio, however, the company’s shipments are predominantly from their slate tablets and hence the growth in detachables did not compensate for their overall tablet shipment decline. Additionally, the company continues to struggle in markets outside China due to political backlash and the lack of Google services.
Lenovo moved up to the fourth position and was one of the two companies in the top 5 with positive growth. The company shipped 1.6 million units for year-over-year growth of 1.9%. This growth was mainly from Japan, the USA, and Western Europe while most of the other regions recorded a decline.
Amazon.com secured its place in the fifth position with a year-over-year decline of 24.5%. The company also lost share from 6.3% in 1Q19 to 5.8% in the most recent quarter. While Western Europe has been able to slightly increase its shipment share in the past few quarters, the United States still accounted for more than three-quarters of the company’s sales and continued to be the biggest driver.