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Worldwide tablet market continues to fall, but some vendors buck trend

30 Apr 2020

While the worldwide tablet market was already experiencing a rocky start to 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has furthered its decline, according to new data released today by the International Data Corporation (IDC).

IDC's research indicates that global shipments have fallen to 24.6 million units, down 18.1% year-over-year during the first quarter of 2020.

Slate tablets also saw shipments decline by 36.4% compared to the first quarter of 2019.

Detachables, however, continued to grow and gain market share with a year-over-year growth of 56.8%, driven primarily by iOS devices.

The Winners and Losers


Apple is continuing its trend as the top vendor of tablets, although the large number of shipments throughout 2019, combined with the closure of factories in the first quarter of 2020, led to a significant shipping decline of 30.4% year-on-year. 

However, the company still leads in the detachable market, no doubt helped by the fact that every iPad (with the exception of the Mini) now offers a detachable keyboard. 


The South Korean giant retained the number two position and, despite the global pandemic hitting economies hard, recorded shipment growth of 3.9% year over year. 

The company managed to ship five million units in Q1 2020, with IDC attributing much of this to a surge in sales for devices meant for e-learning and work from home. 

There was growth across both the detachable and slate portfolios for Samsung, which also launched the Galaxy Tab S6 5G in the quarter – making the company the first vendor to introduce 5G in tablets.


The Chinese company shipped three million units in Q1 2020, resulting in a year-over-year decline of 8.3%. 

While the company managed to record growth across its detachable portfolio, 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. 

The company continues its struggle to penetrate markets outside China due to political opposition and the lack of Google services, says IDC.


Lenovo moved up to the fourth position and was one of the three companies in the top five with positive growth, according to IDC data.

The company shipped 1.6 million units for year-over-year growth of 1.9% - mainly from Japan, the US and Western Europe while most of the other regions recorded a decline. 

Amazon secured its place in the fifth position with year-over-year growth of 6.4%. 

Despite the drop in rank, its share increased from 4.5% in Q1 2019 to 5.8% in the first quarter of this year. 

While Western Europe has been able to slightly increase its shipment share in the past few quarters, the United States accounted for more than 75% of the sales and continued to be the biggest driver.

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