With numerous supply chain issues and disruptions affecting worldwide tablet shipments since Q1 2021, tablet market shares have shifted. Android tablets sales still lead the market, but the gap with Apple’s iOS is closing. Due to the tablet market reaching saturation, and newer volume-driving regions facing inflationary pressures and macro uncertainty, tablet shipments by OS are reflecting this change. According to Counterpoint Research’s Tablet Market Tracker, global tablet shipments have shown some alleviation by recording shipment growths in 2021, however in Q1 2022 contracted by 9% QoQ.
Figure 1) Global Tablet Shipments by Operating System
Figure 2) Global Tablet Market Share by Operating System
Despite the launch of new tablet devices and Samsung’s growth in the quarter, Android OS tablets as a whole have declined significantly reaching their lowest shipments in almost two years. With a YoY and QoQ decrease of 11% and 14% respectively, Android OS accounts for approximately 90% of tablet shipment losses in Q1 2022. Android serves as the base OS for a diverse set of brands including Lenovo, Asus, Acer, and Dell, which all saw notable decreases in the quarter. This decline can be attributed to several factors, one being increasing inflationary pressures and economic slowdowns which have negatively affected low to mid-tier tablet segments. Consumer demand for Android tablets has waned. Additionally, because Android tablets do not possess distinguishable qualities other than proprietary UI overlays, loyalty to a specific brand remains relatively low with brand switching commonplace.
iOS on the other hand, maintained its growth trajectory in the quarter, with its market share growing by an additional 4% points. With iOS’s unmatched synergy in the iOS device ecosystems, high consumer loyalty, and optimization for many use cases, iOS tablets remain resilient to demand swings prevalent in the market. The release of the iPad Air 5 also helped iOS market share remain stable throughout Q1’s weak seasonality and rally iOS demand.
Windows, the third most popular tablet OS followed a similar trend to Android with a shipment reduction of 11% QoQ. Despite its drop, Windows OS remains consistent with its previous market share of 6% increasing by 1% point YoY, focusing on targeting distinct work and business applications without overlapping with that of Android and iOS users.
Because the tablet market is currently experiencing a multitude of complications ranging from component shortages, supply chain disruptions, and slowing demand, changes will likely occur at a slower pace. Android currently holds the majority of tablet shipments, however, if current market conditions persist, the gap between Android and iOS will likely narrow further.