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Tablet shipments crumble to lowest level since 2011

The Apple iPad 10th gen tablet

For many people, tablets are less productive than a computer and less convenient than mobile phones, therefore, as the world faces high levels of inflation and job cuts, it’s not much of a surprise to hear that tablet shipments have collapsed to 2011 levels.

According to the analyst firm IDC, worldwide tablet shipments have declined 17.4% year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2023 with total shipments reaching 36.8 million units during that period. For the whole year, shipments reached 128.5 million units marking a decline of 20.5% on the year prior and the lowest annual volume since 2011.

"With no significant improvements to the economy and consumers allocating their money to things beyond consumer electronics, tablets may not be very high on the priority list. Project delays and spending freezes have also led to purchase postponement through much of 2023," said Anuroopa Nataraj, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers. "2024 is expected to show some rebound opportunities, provided the year is more economically sound. However, overall challenges remain in the tablet market, and technological advances around AI will likely focus more on the PC and smartphone for the next two years, but tablets will increasingly become part of that conversation."

Aside from 2023 being bad for the tablet market overall, it was also noticeably bad for Apple which lost around 7% of the market share after its fourth quarter shipments fell from 21.1 million to just 14.9 million. Its main competitors, Samsung, Huawei, Lenovo, and Xiaomi all increased their market share while the Others category also declined but by less than 2%.

The biggest winner of these was Xiaomi which saw 35% year-over-year growth in the fourth quarter and the biggest loser was Apple which saw a 29.3% contraction in shipments. The situation with Apple is pretty interesting because its affluent consumer base are typically the ones who have been able to keep up with purchases but it seems like they’re tightening the purse strings too.

When we look at the whole year as a whole, Apple did alright gaining 0.4% of the market share. Meanwhile, Amazon was hit hard with its market share falling from 9.9% to 4.2%.

Source: IDC

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