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Chromebook Shipments Up While Tablets Falter in Q2 2023

Based on the latest Canalys data, global tablet shipments experienced an 11% year-on-year decline in Q2 2023, reaching 31.0 million units. This drop signifies a consecutive decrease from the previous quarter and marks the lowest volume of global tablet shipments since Q1 2020. In contrast, Chromebooks had a favorable quarter, with shipments increasing by 1% annually to 5.9 million units. This growth was fueled by renewed demand in the education sector, particularly during the back-to-school season in North America.

Despite the decline in Q2 2023, the tablet market showed a slight improvement compared to the 13% year-on-year decrease observed in Q1 of the same year. Apple maintained its dominant position as the leading tablet vendor, shipping 12.3 million units, accounting for nearly two-fifths of the total global tablet market. Samsung secured the second spot with 6.0 million tablets shipped, experiencing a 14% annual decline in shipments. On the other hand, third-placed Amazon and fourth-placed Lenovo faced significant challenges, posting the largest declines among major tablet vendors, with shipments down by 33% and 39% respectively. Huawei claimed the fifth spot in the rankings, with 1.7 million units of shipments.

“Although demand for tablets has dropped from the highs of the pandemic, it remains relatively resilient,” said Himani Mukka, Research Manager at Canalys. “With the PC and smartphone markets also under threat, vendors selling tablets have an additional tool to help target pockets of opportunity in consumer, commercial and education sectors. The market will receive a boost from seasonally stronger demand in the second half of the year, with vendors continuing to launch new products, adopt aggressive go-to-market strategies and drive promotional activity. However, on the commercial front, it appears that the productivity gap between tablets and PCs is set to widen. With Intel and AMD setting roadmaps for the development of ‘AI PCs’, the future ability for tablets to serve as notebook replacements could be diminished as AI functionality becomes increasingly important to worker productivity.”

In Q2 2023, the global Chromebook market finally saw a positive turn with minor growth after experiencing seven consecutive quarters of decline. HP emerged as the leading Chromebook vendor, gaining an impressive 10% market share as its shipments surged by 69% compared to the previous year. Lenovo maintained its second-place position with a 15% increase in Chromebook shipments. However, Dell faced a 15% decline in shipments, holding onto the third spot with approximately 1.3 million units shipped by both vendors.

Acer and Asus secured the fourth and fifth positions respectively, but both experienced a loss in market share compared to the previous year. Despite the challenges faced by some vendors, the overall growth in the Chromebook market signals a positive shift in demand for these devices.

“Chromebooks’ return to growth was heavily driven by a strong demand in the education sector in the US,” said Kieren Jessop, Research Analyst at Canalys. “The US accounted for 81% of global Chromebook shipments in Q2 2023, well above its average share since the start of the pandemic. Ahead of the upcoming school year, US institutions filed applications before the 13 May 2023 deadline for the government’s third round of the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF).” The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reports that the latest round of funding supported the rollout of 5.1 million connected devices, with total commitments to date reaching nearly 13 million connected devices. “However, the use of taxpayer money for Chromebooks has recently come under scrutiny, with the US Public Interest Research Group Education Fund publishing a critical report about the lifespan of devices. Barring further federal funding, schools holding onto older Chromebooks could face disruptions from usability and experience issues,” added Jessop.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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