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Tablet shipments down 29.9% as demand continues to weaken

Worldwide tablet shipments posted decline of 29.9% year over year in the second quarter of 2023 (2Q23), totaling 28.3 million units, according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker.

Demand for tablets continued to be weak in the quarter and most of the top vendors recorded double-digit declines as consumer confidence and purchasing power remained low.

Elevated levels of channel inventory also acted as headwinds for new tablet shipments though the issue is expected to ease further in the coming months.

Chromebook shipments also contracted in 2Q23 with shipments totaling 5.8 million units for a year-over-year decline of 1.8%. Their decline was minimal, as there were pull-in orders from H2 2023 due to the expected increase in the Chrome OS licensing cost in the second half of the year, IDC finds.

Apple once again led the tablet market with shipments of 10.5 million units, but still recorded a year-over-year decline of 16.8%. Despite the decline, Apple is arguably better positioned than its competitors as the company typically caters to a more affluent userbase that is perhaps less impacted by the economic downturn.

Samsung shipped 5.8 million units in the quarter and ranked second overall. The company posted a decline of 18.3% year over year due to weakness in demand. However, Samsung aims to increase demand in the high-end segment, including premium and large screen products, in the second half of 2023.

Lenovo moved up in rank to the third position this quarter with shipment volume of 2.1 million units. The company posted a decline of 38.8% year over year but grew 12.9% quarter over quarter as it was the start of its fiscal year and Lenovo increased marketing efforts in several promotional events.

Chinese vendors Huawei and Xiaomi finished the quarter in the fourth and fifth positions respectively. Huawei shipped 1.7 million units and posted a decline of 22.9% year over year. China’s consumer demand has been weak.

The recent shopping festival in China performed below expectations resulting in excess inventory again, leaving vendors like Huawei and Honor wondering how they can increase the consumer spend.

Xiaomi marked its debut in the top 5 this quarter with shipments of 1.0 million units, a substantial increase of 41.6% year over year, owing to the company's strategic model launches (with early bird discounts and exchange offers) and a well-established channel presence in the Asian market.

The company has built a good reputation in the market with its flagship models, and with better allocation of their shipments they were able to boost sales in the quarter, according to IDC.

Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC's Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, says, "There's further bifurcation in the tablet market as iPads capture the high end and brands such as Xiaomi and Lenovo proliferate within the low end. This poses challenges for the mid-market as many consumers gravitate towards the extremes in pricing."

Anuroopa Nataraj, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, says, "The economic market conditions in the past years made way for several tablet deployments. Products that have more features but are also economically priced are well accepted, especially in the emerging markets as they bring in high value to consumers."

"This is where several new players have pitched in and as a result the emerging markets have had a relatively better growth rate than the mature markets."

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