Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

Changes driven by Covid-19 boost tablet segment in Brazil

Consumer interest in higher-spec devices leads to an improvement of sales in 2020 and a positive outlook for this year, according to research.

The Brazilian tablet market has seen revenue growth in 2020 in relation to the prior year and is predicted to expand further in 2021, according to research from analyst firm IDC.

The result for 2020 reflects changes in consumer buying habits and changes in the use of personal devices, the report points out. Despite a 12.7% sales drop, Brazilian tablet consumers exchanged entry-level models for intermediate and premium models and increased the market, leading to a 28.7% revenue increase, it noted.

"Remote education, entertainment and the impossibility of traveling abroad led to an increase in sales of tablets above 700 reais (US$ 123)", said Rodrigo Okayama Pereira, market analyst at IDC Brasil.

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The recent trends fall in line with the transformation that manufacturers and channels have been implementing in recent years in terms of strategy, product mix and focus, according to the analyst. "The market has increasingly focused on tablets with better technical specifications, which justifies the intermediate and premium models gaining more importance and participation", Pereira noted.

In terms of the volume of tablets sold, 674,163 units were sold in the first quarter of 2020 in Brazil, 3% less than in the same period in 2019. According to IDC, a 10% drop in sales was expected for Q1, but the return to school and the first signs of the Covid-19 pandemic avoided a double-digit decline.

The market faced significant challenges in the second quarter, with a 32.3% drop in sales. With 477,377 devices sold, the segment had not experienced such a contraction since 2016, according to IDC.

The market started to bounce back in the third quarter of 2020, with 747,852 units sold between July and September, with revenue reaching US$ 129 million. The best performance of the year came in the fourth quarter, with 1 million tablets sold and total revenue at US$ 147 million.

For 2021, IDC expects the Brazilian tablet market will see 24% growth. According to IDC, this will be driven by large public and private projects aimed at education and segment are expected to drive the expansion of tablet sales, as sector organizations consider hybrid remote teaching models, even after the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The performance of the tablet segment in 2020 interrupts a downward trajectory for the segment, which started in 2015. The decline follows a tablet fever that started in Brazil in 2013, which led to tablets surpassing sales of desktops as well as notebooks for the first time.