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Tablet Sales Set To Fall Over 30% After Record Q4 2020

As consumers work from home tablet sales have boomed delivering increased sales for the likes of Apple with their iPad Samsung and brands such as Amazon and Lenovo, but all that is about to end abruptly end with sales set to fall by over 30%.

Global tablet shipments rose to a 13-quarter high of 51.56 million units in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to Digitimes Research. However, shipments will fall 31% sequentially in the first quarter of 2021.

Several of the big tablet brands have reported a direct sales boom with online sales accounting for significant increases.

Shipments in the fourth quarter of 2020 ending in December increased 17.6% sequentially and 19.3% year on year due to rising demand from stay-at-home activities amid the coronavirus outbreak researchers claim.

Adding to the fourth quarter surge several tablet brands also accelerated their shipments in the fourth quarter amid concerns of worsening shortages of IT chips in the first half of 2021.

Apple’s release of a budget 10.2-inch iPad also boosted overall tablet shipments.

Global tablet shipments in this quarter will slip more than 30% sequentially as retailers move to sell through excess stock.

Lenovo, Amazon, and TCL all surpassed Huawei to become the third to fifth largest brand worldwide.

Huawei’s shipments will decline further in the first quarter of 2021.

Consumers’ demand has continued to lean toward larger-size models with the shipment share of 11-inch and above brand tablets already reaching over 10% in the fourth quarter of 2020 and will rise to near 15% in the first quarter of 2021.

Worldwide tablet shipments totalled 159.76 million units for whole-year 2020, up slightly by 2% on year thanks primarily to the pandemic-induced demand. However, Digitimes Research believes global tablet shipments will suffer an on-year decline in 2021 due mainly to the component shortages in the first half of the year.

Currently, lead time for new orders for tablet chips that are in shortage is around 20 weeks and the short supply is unlikely to ease until the end of second-quarter 2021. Since tablet brands at the moment have all adopted the strategy of delivering shipments whenever they obtain components, Digitimes Research believes traditional seasonal patterns may not apply to global tablet shipments in 2021.


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