Despite issues such as the global economy showing no sign of recovery and the slow season having limited tablet brands' shipment in the earlier half of the first quarter of 2023, tablet brands are starting to place short-term orders at the end of the quarter to replenish their channel inventories. This is expected to benefit overall tablet shipments worldwide to see only a minor drop from a quarter ago, according to DIGITIMES Research's latest figures from the tablet report.
In the first quarter of 2023, global tablet shipments came to only 29.44 million units, declining 17% from the prior quarter and 8% from the prior year as the market entered the traditional slow season, the report's figures show.
Tablets are commonly considered a non-rigid demand product positioned between PCs and handsets. Because of this characteristic, tablet shipments slipped sharply from a quarter ago in the first quarter with the market exiting the strong year-end season in the fourth quarter of 2022.
China lifting COVID-19 restrictions also resulted in a slump in demand for stay-at-home education and online entertainment, leading to an 8% on-year decline in global tablet shipments.
Within first-quarter 2023 global tablet shipments, the share of Apple's tablets fell below 40% as their shipments witnessed a more significant sequential decline than non-Apple tablet shipments did. In terms of sizes, the shipment share of 10.x-inch tablets reached a record high primarily driven by brisk sales of the 10.2-inch 9th-generation iPad, which is offered at a far lower price point than the newer 10th-generation model.
Analyzing first-quarter 2023 global tablet shipments in terms of the processors adopted, inexpensive tablets lost their growth momentum seen during the year-end holiday period due to seasonal factors, resulting in their shipments suffering a sequential decline larger than that of mid-range and high-end models, which are capable of light productive works.
Because of that, MediaTek chip-powered tablets, which are usually made to target the entry-level sector, saw their shipment share slip sequentially in the first quarter, while the share of Qualcomm AP-powered models, which target higher-end sectors, enjoyed a lift.