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Global tablet shipments drop sequentially in 1Q21
Summer Kuo, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei 0

Global tablet shipments totaled 35.95 million units in the first quarter of 2021, down 22.7% sequentially, but 45.5% on year, meeting Digitimes Research's forecast in January.

IC shortages only have had minor impacts on the tablet market, which has still been following its seasonal pattern. The sequential shipment decline in the first quarter was due to slow-season effect and volumes in the second quarter are expected to continue suffering from seasonality, witnessing a sequential drop of 6.6%, Digitimes Research's figures show.

The global top-4 tablet brands in the first quarter were Apple, Samsung Electronics, Amazon and Lenovo. Huawei, which was a top-4 brand in 2020, dropped out in the first quarter of 2021 and will stop shipping tablets after the second quarter.

Honor, which Huawei spun off, is unlikely to see any major improvement in tablet shipments in the short term as it will need some time to imporve its brand recognition.

In the second quarter of 2021, Lenovo will ascend to third place and relegate Amazon to fourth, while Microsoft will become the fifth largest tablet brand worldwide.

Apple's shipments will stay stable in the second quarter thanks to the release of its new iPad Pros, while most non-Apple brands will witness sequential declines in second-quarter shipments.

White-box tablet vendors are being hit seriously by IC shortages with market shares taken over by brand vendors' inexpensive models. As a result, white-box tablets may be at risk of disappearing from the market in 2022.

With Amazon's inexpensive tablets largely replacing white-box tablets in the first quarter, the shipment share of 8.x-inch tablets significantly increased from a quarter ago, causing the share of 10-inch and above tablets to slip. However, thanks to the release of the new iPad Pros, the shipment share of 11-inch and above tablets will grow to nearly 20%, a new record level.

Taiwanese ODMs' tablet shipments slipped sequentially in the first quarter of 2021 due to reduced orders for the previous-generation iPad Pros, but the volumes will pick up in the second quarter thanks to orders for the new iPad Pros. Taiwan-based ODMs' combined shipments will also account for more than 40% of global tablet volumes.

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