Worldwide tablet market takes a hit amid global economic hardships

A new report by research firm Strategy Analytics shows that inflation and post-pandemic conditions have changed how people view tablets - as a luxury instead of a need.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
Close-up of student scrolling on tablet
Image: Klaus Vedfelt via Getty Images

The pandemic caused a large boost in tablet sales due to virtual schooling and work requirements. With the world slowly returning to normal and global inflation hitting consumers' pockets, the worldwide tablet market is suffering a decline, according to a Strategy Analytics study.

Rising costs for everyday necessities such as groceries, gas and housing means less money in people's pockets for products that fall under the luxury category. Therefore, tablets have experienced a shift from a work-from-home need to a luxury item, and the overall market fell 16% year on year in the third quarter of 2022. 

Despite this general market fall, some market vendors were able to successfully compete in the category by creating products and incentives that properly served their target audience. 

Strategy Analytics Tablet Vendors Results
Source: Strategy Analytics

Apple remained the biggest player, with a 39% market share. The study attributes Apple's dominance to its higher tier portfolio of products that appeals to wealthier customers who don't suffer from the impact of inflation to the same extent. 

"Apple's diverse portfolio stretching all the way to iPad Pros and iPad Airs running on M1 processors has boosted Apple's ASP [average sale price] to $483 as users seek to do more on their tablets, including work, school, and play," said Chirag Upadhyay, industry analyst at Strategy Analytics. 

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Despite the massive slice of the market share pie that Apple holds, it experienced a 14% decline in year-over-year growth. This makes Samsung's and Amazon's ability to experience minimal decreases, at 4% and 5% respectively, an impressive feat. 

"Both companies have ways of beating inflationary pressures, which will remain a key skill for the next couple of quarters," said Eric Smith, director of connected computing at Strategy Analytics. 

At 7.2 million shipments, Samsung performed better than expected and held the second-largest market share at 19%. Its ever-growing Android portfolio plays a large role in this success. 

"Samsung got the closest to positive territory this quarter thanks to its diversified Android portfolio spanning the premium tier with the Galaxy Tab S8 series down to lower tiers with the Galaxy Tab A series," says Smith. 

Amazon didn't trail too far behind with a 10% market share in third place. According to the study, Amazon's success can be attributed to its massive deal campaigns, such as Amazon Prime Day and the Amazon Early Access sale, which provide generous discounts on a large portfolio of items, including tablets. 

"Amazon did nearly as well [as Samsung] on the growth metric but for completely different reasons," says Smith. "It's solely focused on lower tiers and derived strength from Prime Day discounts and its refreshed 7-inch model."

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