A stagnating Apple dominated a shrinking tablet market in Q3 2021
Unlike smartphones or smartwatches, it's no big secret that tablets had a lot to gain in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, with global sales thriving all of a sudden after years and years of constant decline as many people were forced to take their work home and find affordable computing solutions.
But following no less than five consecutive growth quarters, tablet shipments have predictably started to fall again, registering an overall 14.9 percent dip during Q3 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.
While far from a great result, the 37.7 million units shipped around the world between July and September of this year still represent a solid improvement over the industry's "pre-pandemic levels." Case in point, the Q3 2019 estimate was under 32 million at Canalys, which just so happens to be the same analytics firm behind this latest report as well.
As you can imagine, none of the world's top five tablet vendors were able to substantially boost their year-on-year numbers in this climate, although Lenovo did record a small 2 percent growth to leapfrog both Huawei and Amazon and occupy the last spot on the podium.
Unsurprisingly, Apple and Samsung retained their gold and silver medals respectively, but while the heavyweight champion's shipment figures pretty much stayed perfectly still, the first runner-up lost more than one percent in share and a whopping 20.2 percent in sales.
That means the distance between the two tech giants expanded to more than 20 percent, or otherwise put, Apple incredibly managed to sell over twice as many iPads in the July - September 2021 timeframe as Samsung Galaxy Tabs.
Naturally, that may have something to do with the underwhelming Tab S7 FE and the (temporary) absence of the Tab S8 family, so it remains to be seen if Samsung can close the gap in Q1 2022. Until then, Amazon should bounce back in the holiday quarter after a horrific 44.5 percent Q3 decline thanks to seasonal deals and discounts, while Huawei is likely to continue its free fall, which could open the door to a new number five player (Microsoft?).
Meanwhile, in case you're wondering, tablets and Chromebooks definitely made a crucial contribution to a tiny 1.9 percent decline in overall PC shipments, which is obviously good news for traditional notebooks and desktops.
The PC market was once again dominated by Lenovo, but Apple is a very close second, followed at a pretty large distance by HP, Dell, and Samsung, the latter of which registered the biggest fall of the global top five.