World takes tablets during COVID lockdowns, with shipments spiking 18%

Apple leads in shipments, but also records the slowest growth among branded fondleslab-flingers

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Tablet computer shipments have grown by 18.6 per cent thanks to the COVID-19 crisis.

The latest figures from analyst firm IDC show a double digit bump to 37.6 million units in worldwide tablet shipments for the second quarter of 2020, which bore the brunt of the coronavirus lockdowns. The previous two quarters both saw tablet sales slip.

"With COVID-related lockdowns continuing to restrict many activities, consumers turned to tablets for entertainment, business, and e-learning," the firm said in a statement.

Apple retained its top spot after overcoming early-pandemic supply chain problems before satisfying demand for its late 2019 iPad models. The company shipped 12.4 million iPads in the quarter. However, Cupertino's sales grew just 1.3 per cent – or 100,000 units – compared to 2019. Other manufacturers fared far better.

Samsung stayed in second spot, shipping 7 million units and scoring a 42.5 per cent year-on-year jump. The improved performance was attributed to inventory replenishment and high-demand during lockdowns.

Huawei shipped 4.8 million units, a 43.5 per cent year-on-year boost. IDC noted that the company's "focus on its Windows detachable has taken a back seat as it faces some heavy competition from traditional notebooks PCs, which outcompete detatchables both in price and performance".

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Amazon and Lenovo came next, both reporting roughly 50 per cent growth year-on-year on the back of their low-cost models. Amazon released the new 8-inch Fire HD tablet in June. Similarly, Lenovo's "lower-end tablets seem to be the most sought after devices" in the company's lineup and propelled Lenovo to 51 per cent growth.

The entire tablet market for the quarter came in at 38.6 million units, a full six million machines higher than for the corresponding quarter in 2019. ®

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