iPad MiniSource: Rene Ritchie/iMore

What you need to know

  • Digitimes Research says that Q1 2020 tablet shipments may fall to a new low.
  • The traditional slow season may be impacted further by the coronavirus outbreak.
  • It predicts total unit shipments could fall to just 28.5 million units.

A report from Digitimes Research suggests that global tablet shipments may fall to a new low in Q1 of 2020.

According to the report:

As the tablet market enters the traditional slow season and China's coronavirus outbreak has extended the Lunar New Year holidays there by 1-2 weeks, global tablet shipments are expected to arrive at only 28.56 million units, a new low, estimates Digitimes Research.

That number stands in contrast to Q4 2019 numbers which saw tablet shipments total an estimated 43.23 million worldwide. Looking back on the quarter the report notes:

Apple was the largest tablet vendor worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2019 thanks to mass shipments of its 10.2-inch 7th generation iPad. Samsung Electronics was in second place, followed by Amazon in third, Huawei in fourth and Microsoft in fifth. Lenovo fell out of the top-5 in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Looking ahead it predicts that Amazon will fall to fourth place in this quarter "due to a major decline in shipments". According to the research, around 70% of global tablets shipped in the quarter were devices with 10-inch and above displays. Smaller 8-inch-plus displays account for only 17% of shipments, and 7-inch devices account for just 10.7%. That final figure is expected to drop to just 5.7% due to the aforementioned decline in Amazon shipments.

Some of Black Friday's best deals are still available, shop NOW before they're gone

Whilst shipment figures do not directly reflect sales, they are a good indicator of how the market is moving. Looking ahead, Digitimes Research believes that demand for the largest, 10-inch-plus devices will continue, pushing them to account for nearly three-quarters of shipments in this quarter.

The below graph from the report tracks global tablet shipment share by vendor across the year for 2019 and includes a prediction for 2020.

Tablet shareSource: Digitimes