Global Tablet Market Faces Significant Decline, Marking Lowest Volume Since 2011

Worldwide tablet shipments fell 17.4 percent during the fourth quarter of 2023 (4Q23), totaling 36.8 million units. This marks the most significant drop in fourth-quarter tablet shipments since 2016, IDC report said.
Canalys report on tablet market in 2023In 2023, tablet shipments dropped 20.5 percent decline, reaching the lowest annual volume since 2011 at 128.5 million units.

Anuroopa Nataraj, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, attributed the decline in the global tablet business to the lack of significant economic improvements and consumer spending shifting away from consumer electronics.

Project delays and spending freezes also contributed to the postponement of tablet purchases through much of 2023.

Apple, despite experiencing a notable decline in shipments (-29.3 percent for 4Q23 and -19.8 percent for the full year), managed to retain its leading position in the tablet market, maintaining over 37 percent of the market share for the full year.

Samsung secured second place with steady results, while Xiaomi and Huawei saw growth in the fourth quarter, displacing Amazon from the top 5. Huawei posted the best full-year results among the top 5 companies, with only a 4.0 percent year-over-year decline in shipments.

A parallel report from Canalys indicates a global drop of 11 percent year-on-year in tablet shipments for Q4 2023, totaling 37.8 million units. The full-year 2023 figure reached 135.3 million tablets, a 10 percent decrease from 2022.

China and India emerged as key markets offsetting stagnation in other regions. Canalys Research Manager Himani Mukka noted aggressive promotional strategies globally to address high tablet inventories.

“With healthier inventory levels and further scope for government and commercial deployments, tablet sell-in is expected to rebound in 2024,” Himani Mukka said. She emphasized the potential impact of new tablet models announced by TCL and Lenovo at CES 2024, along with anticipated updates to Apple’s iPad portfolio.

Canalys Analyst Kieren Jessop drew attention to the innovation gap between tablets and other personal computing devices, emphasizing the importance of on-device AI integration. Jessop also predicted a focus on foldable tablet form factors in 2024, despite potential limitations due to premium pricing.

In Q4 2023, the tablet market saw robust performance from Chinese vendors, with Huawei experiencing a remarkable 95 percent shipment growth, securing third place. Apple maintained its lead despite a 24 percent year-on-year decline, while Samsung, Lenovo, and Amazon rounded out the top five with varying levels of annual declines and growth. The tablet market awaits a potential turnaround in 2024 with new product releases and market strategies.