What's going on in the devices market?

A look under the bonnet of the global PC market

We're all thinking about cloud and transformation, but how's the market powering the devices that get us there?

Preliminary data from IDC has revealed that in the third quarter of 2023, global tablet shipments experienced a 14.2 percent year-over-year decline, amounting to 33.2 million units.

During the same quarter, Chromebooks also saw a contraction, with shipments totalling 3.5 million units and a year-over-year drop of 20.8 percent. IDC's research indicates that the Chromebook market may exhibit resilience due to an anticipated refresh in the education sector and available government spending budgets.

Despite subdued demand, the market saw an 18 percent increase compared to the previous quarter, driven by seasonal factors.

The tablet market

In the tablet market, Apple emerged as the leader with 12.5 million units shipped but still faced a 15.1 percent year-over-year decline. Notably, Apple did not introduce new models during the third quarter, which traditionally provides a boost in the latter half of the year. Nevertheless, Apple managed to maintain its market share from the previous year.

Securing the second position, Samsung shipped 6 million units in the quarter. While the company's shipments decreased, they appear to be focusing on a turnaround by concentrating on the premium segment and launching additional marketing campaigns.

Lenovo and Huawei claimed the third and fourth positions this quarter, with shipments of 2.6 million and 2.3 million units, respectively.

Amazon, after a lacklustre performance in the previous quarter, successfully repositioned itself in the top five by gearing up for the holiday season and launching a new value-priced premium device, the Fire Max 11.

The inside track

Anuroopa Nataraj, a senior research analyst with IDC's Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, commented, "The first three quarters of 2023 recorded some of the largest contractions in the tablet market, and the upcoming holiday season isn't expected to be very different. With no dramatic improvements in macroeconomic conditions, project and purchase delays are expected to be pushed further into 2024."

Jitesh Ubrani, research manager with IDC's Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, added, "Tablets have unfortunately always found themselves in an awkward middle ground between PCs and smartphones, and this continues to put downward pressure on the market. However, the most successful tablet makers have realized that the tablet works best when paired with rather than against a PC or smartphone, and as such, we expect other tablet makers to follow suit by offering a more unified software and services experience, though this will take some time to coalesce."

It's worth noting that tablets and Chromebooks are facing a similar downward trend as PC shipments, which also saw a 7.6 percent year-over-year reduction in the third quarter of 2023, as reported by IDC.

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