Android tablets and Chromebooks struggle for market share amid tumbling shipments
Chromebook shipments, in particular, dropped, with a 51% YoY reduction
Google is finally starting to show some love for tablets and other large-screen devices. After neglecting tablets for years, Android 12L invested in tablet-focused UI changes for maybe the first time since Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. And with it, Google also signaled that tablets were an essential pillar of Android’s long-term strategy, and committed to supporting them better — we’ve even got a Pixel tablet to look forward to. Hopefully that kind of renewed interest breathes a little life into the form factor, since the latest tablet shipment numbers are in, and they show Android tablets are (still) struggling.
According to newly released data from IDC and Strategy Analytics, Android tablets are having a rough go of things right now. IDC’s data shows the tablet market globally grew by a measly 0.15% over the course of the past year, yet major players like Apple, Samsung, Lenovo, and Huawei all saw considerable reductions in their shipments. Instead, the meager gains seem to have been mostly driven by Amazon, which saw a 26.92% increase in shipments year-on-year, alongside smaller players like Xiaomi, Vivo, and Oppo, all of which performed beyond expectation.
Meanwhile, if things looked rough for tablets, Chromebooks are seeing far more substantial drops. All major Chromebook vendors saw steep reductions in shipments year-on-year, including a massive 78.6% drop from HP. Overall, Chromebook shipments shrank a total of 51.4%. To put those numbers into perspective, while a total of 12.3 million Chromebooks were shipped in Q2 2021, Q2 2022 saw just 6 million.
Does this mean nobody wants to buy Android tablets or Chromebooks anymore? Are they just less attractive device categories these days? Not necessarily, and we also need to take into account that worldwide are struggling, and there are geopolitical events making the situation even more complicated.
Meanwhile, a separate report from Strategy Analytics shows that Android’s hold on the tablet market has slipped below 50% for the first time in 10 years (though only dipping down to 49% so far). It is important to note that the analysts producing this report came up with some very different numbers from the ones IDC generated, actually showing a reduction in Amazon’s shipments, instead of an increase.
Still, both reports share an overall trend — demand for Android tablets declined together with the rest of the market. While Apple also saw a reduction in total iPad shipments, it did manage to score an increase market share, climbing 3.3% to reach 38%.
It’s too early to say whether doubling down on Android tablets will pay off or not. As Google and other OEMs consolidate efforts to make the experience of using Android tablets actually good Again, and as the global economy improves, we’re expecting these numbers to improve. Likewise, while the Chromebook situation looks awful right now, the numbers might also grow as schools ramp up efforts to provide PCs to students.