After more than two years of decline, worldwide tablet shipments posted modest year-over-year growth of 0,5% in the first quarter of 2024 (1Q24), totaling 30,8-million units, according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker.

The last time the market recorded growth was in the second quarter of 2021, after which shipments began to slow due to saturation.

While macroeconomic issues persist, the rebound in shipments this quarter was driven by the start of a refresh cycle though long-term volumes are unlikely to match the surge seen during the pandemic.

However, the shift towards premium tablets is a silver lining as consumers seek productivity-oriented devices.

Apple faced a bit of a lull last year due to the poor economy and the absence of new models and declined 8,5% year over year. The company has focused on clearing out inventory of older models prior to the expected launch of new models in 2Q24. Apple managed to hold the number one position with 9,9-million units shipped in 1Q24.

Samsung ranked second with shipments of 6,7-million units in 1Q24, which was a year-over-year decline of 5,8%. Promotions from competing brands in Europe and Asia/Pacific and the lack of new products held back Samsung’s growth. However, the company is focused on improving its user experience by including AI capabilities in its latest products and focusing on premium products to capitalize on this year’s replacement cycle.

Huawei retained the third position this quarter with year-over-year growth of 43,6% and shipments of 2,9-million units. The Chinese tech giant likely benefitted from the resurgence of its smartphone business and managed to grow its market share by 2.8 basis points compared to 1Q23.

Lenovo ranked fourth this quarter with year-over-year growth of 13,2%. Like many other vendors, Lenovo has been able to grow its detachable portfolio since the pandemic, with its Tab P series models driving shipments. However, slate tablets still represent nearly 80% of Lenovo’s shipments.

Xiaomi retained its spot in the top five with impressive growth of 92,6% year over year and shipments reaching 1,80million units. Outside of China, which is its largest market, Xiaomi grew by triple digits across almost all regions where it ships.

“The tablet market started showing signs of recovery in the first quarter. The real gains will come from the next refresh cycle, followed by growth within commercial segments as more tablets are used in the education sector and the gig economy,” says Anuroopa Nataraj, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers.

“However, these factors won’t suffice as the attrition driven by competition from PCs and smartphones will contribute to a lackluster outlook for the tablet market. That said, there is potential upside driven by AI capabilities similar to what’s expected in other device types.”

Top Five Tablet Companies, Worldwide Shipments, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q1 2024 (Preliminary results, combined company view for the current quarter only, shipments in millions)
Company 1Q24 Unit Shipments 1Q24 Market Share 1Q23 Unit Shipments 1Q23 Market Share Year-Over-Year Growth
1. Apple 9.9 32.0% 10.8 35.2% -8.5%
2. Samsung 6.7 21.7% 7.1 23.2% -5.8%
3. Huawei 2.9 9.4% 2.0 6.6% 43.6%
4. Lenovo 2.1 7.0% 1.9 6.2% 13.2%
5. Xiaomi 1.8 5.9% 0.9 3.1% 92.6%
Others 7.4 24.0% 7.9 25.8% -6.6%
Total 30.8 100.0% 30.6 100.0% 0.5%
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, May 3, 2024