While the last year and a half has been a disaster for the world as a whole, some industries have inadvertently benefited from the disarray caused by a variety of global situations. For example, the tablet and PC markets, formerly assumed to be dying, saw a boom in demand and sales due to small school and work arrangements. However, that status quo was not supposed to survive indefinitely, and it appears that tablet and Chromebook shipments are already indicating the beginning of the end.
Last year’s surge in demand for tablets and Chromebooks was easily explained by COVID-19 restrictions, which kept many people from home. Businesses, schools, and individuals rushed to get their hands on these more portable computing gadgets, mainly since supply was limited due to the pandemic’s travel and shipping restrictions. However, demand has begun to wane, with many consumers having exhausted their supply of these devices.
IDC’s tablet market profited from the component shortage that afflicted the PC market, but the tables have now reversed. Tablet manufacturers, which are frequently also PC manufacturers, are now compelled to divert their limited component supply and resources to other categories, primarily laptops and gaming PCs. As a result, the tablet market shrank 9.4% in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the same period the previous year, shipping only 42.3 million devices.
The Chromebook market fared even worse, with shipments down 29.8% year over year in the third quarter. That’s not exactly a bad thing, considering how much this device category’s sales have risen in recent months. Chromebooks are still selling well in emerging areas, but not enough to keep the global market from dropping.
This news arrives almost ironic, as Google is preparing Android for giant screens such as tablets, Chromebooks, and even PCs. Those markets, despite their downturn, aren’t going away, but it could temper Google’s increased determination to ensure Android works effectively on tablets.