With numerous supply chain issues and disruptions affecting worldwide tablet shipments since quarter one (Q1) of 2021, tablet market shares have shifted. Android tablets sales still lead the market, but the gap with Apple’s iPadOS 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 in Q1 2022 contracted by 9% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ).
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, notes the research group. With a QoQ decrease of 14%, Android OS accounts for approximately 90% of tablet shipment losses in Q1 2022. Android serves as the base operating system for a diverse set of brands including Lenovo, Asus, Acer, and Dell, which all saw notable decreases in the quarter.
Counterpoint says 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. Counterpoint says that, additionally, because Android tablets don’t possess distinguishable qualities other than proprietary user interface overlays, loyalty to a specific brand remains relatively low with brand switching commonplace.
iPadOS 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 iPadOS device ecosystems, high consumer loyalty, and optimization for many use cases, iOS tablets remain resilient to demand swings prevalent in the market,” according to Counterpoint. The release of the iPad Air 5 also helped iPadOS market share remain stable throughout Q1’s weak seasonality and rally iPadOS 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%, focusing on targeting distinct work and business applications without overlapping with that of Android and iOS users.