Supply constraints and steep comparisons to the year-ago quarter faced off against strong Back-to-School demand and a tablet market gearing more and more towards productivity for hybrid work and more digitized classrooms. The result was a -10% drop in tablet shipments year-on-year, but market demand is still far stronger than it was pre-pandemic. As the COVID pandemic remains a key concern around the world, this tension between high demand and low component supply will test vendors and their channel partners as we enter the winter holiday season.
Exhibit: Apple Took Nearly 40% Tablet Market Share in Q3 2021*
Apple iOS/iPadOS shipments (sell-in) grew 15 percent to 17.3 million units in Q3 2021, with worldwide market share climbing 8 percentage points to 38 percent.
Samsung tablet shipments declined 23 percent in Q3 2021 to 7.5 million units; market share declined by 2.1 percentage points to 17 percent.
Lenovo tablet shipments grew 5 percent to 4.3 million units; market share climbed 1.4 percentage points to 9 percent.
Amazon Fire tablet shipments fell 24 percent to 3.7 million units as market share fell 1.4 percentage points to 8 percent.
Huawei tablet shipments fell 64 percent to 1.8 million units in Q3 2021. Market share fell 6.0 percentage points to 4 percent compared to Q3 2020. Tablet market share
With a portfolio stocked with highly capable productivity tablets, Apple’s strong growth came at the expense of other vendors competing for tight supplies. Vendors selling Windows Detachables like Lenovo, Dell, and HP showed healthy growth during the quarter as Microsoft was still working with an old portfolio of Surface devices. All of this plays to the larger trend of consumers continuing to work remotely (or at least in a hybrid schedule) and keep connected with digital learning platforms as the new school year began.
The China tablet market was hot in Q3 and vendor performance mirrored vendor access and brand perception in China. For example, Apple, Lenovo, Xiaomi, and Honor posted some of the strongest year-on-year growth rates while Samsung, Amazon, and Microsoft experienced growth rates declining by double digits. As the pandemic disrupts life in different regions at different times, we expect supply to remain tight and demand to generally remain higher than pre-pandemic levels.