Global tablet and Chromebook shipments slide in Q4 2021

Worldwide tablet shipments declined by 11.9 per cent and Chromebook shipments slid 63.6 per cent in Q4 2021 compared to the same period last year, according to a new IDC report.

Their shipment decline signifies the cooling of demand from the fever pitch driven by the remote work and online learning shift at the start of the pandemic.

Fuelled by the shift to remote work, 2020 saw record highs in tablet and Chromebook shipments. According to a Canalys report, tablet shipments reached 160 million units in Q4 2020, representing a 28 per cent growth over 2019. Chromebooks shipped 30.6 million units in Q4 2020, a 287 per cent increase over Q4 2019.

Chromebook shipment Q4 2021
Overall global Chromebook shipment slid by 63 per cent in Q4 2021 compared to last year. Source: IDC

The IDC report explained that the massive increase in demand in the last two years was mostly generated by countries in North America and Europe. Now that it’s been fulfilled in those regions, products now flow to fill demand in emerging markets.

tablet shipment Q4 2021 chat
Tablet shipment also fell, although not as steeply as Chromebooks. Note: *Huawei independent shipments only; ** combined shipments of both Huawei and Honor, a Huawei subsidiary spun off in 2021. Source: IDC

Moreover, Jitesh Ubrani, research manager at IDC, noted that the semiconductor supply shortage has led vendors to prioritize Windows PCs over Chromebooks due to their higher price.

Despite their declines, tablet and Chromebook shipments increased for the full year. Tablet shipments increased by 3.2 per cent year over year while Chromebook shipments grew by 13.5 per cent. And although the demand has dropped, it’s still well above pre-pandemic levels.

“Shipments in the near future will remain above pre-pandemic levels as virtual learning, remote work, and media consumption remain priorities for users,” predicted Anuroopa Nataraj, senior research analyst at IDC.

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Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT World Canada. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at [email protected].

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