Late yesterday IDC reported that the tablet market for the EMEA market (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) grew by 23.8% YoY, reaching 11.9 million units in the second quarter of 2020. Tablets performed positively for the first time in six years in that market and posted the strongest growth since 2013, when the market had not yet reached maturity. The consumer segment was the main driver, with 27.1% YoY growth. This was triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden need to acquire devices for leisure and education purposes during lockdown.


Helena Ferreira, research analyst, IDC Western Europe Personal Computing Devices:  “Demand in Western Europe remained healthy throughout the whole quarter as tablets emerged as a reliable and affordable alternative for consumers to meet their needs for content consumption and provide access to remote schooling during the lockdown. Backlogs created in the first quarter of the year, due to severe constraints in the supply chain, also contributed to the large volume of shipments.”


While Apple remained in second position, driven by the popularity of the iPad among consumers in Western Europe and compelling education solutions, it’s Samsung that overtook Apple since the pandemic and that’s likely due to school orders at discounted prices and not a natural market shift.  The Korea Times reported that Samsung’s sales “increased by 70% from a year ago.”  


Interestingly Stefania Lorenz at IDC told added for the report that “The spike in consumer demand for tablets was driven by the lack of notebooks in the market. In fact, tablets were not expected to be the first choice for home-schooling or home-working, but younger students and children were equipped with tablets instead of notebooks.”


 Lorenz added that The ‘forced’ working and schooling from home has pushed demand to high volumes in both CEE and MEA.”


Stating that the children “were equipped” means that they were equipped by the schools. Considering that Samsung has never beaten Apple in the consumer market, discounting tablets to put them in the leadership position was definitely a marketing move which they’ll try to play off on in other markets.


2 x Europe tablet market IDC Chart

(Click on image to Enlarge)


“Despite the easing of lockdown restrictions throughout the region, public behavior remains cautious in general,” said Daniel Goncalves, research manager, IDC Western Europe Personal Computing Devices. “Therefore income that would otherwise have been spent on holidays or other activities has been allocated to home entertainment, and this has benefited tablets. It’s not just a matter of necessity — it’s also being facilitated by the current situation.”


Education will continue to have a strong impact on tablet performance in 3Q as the number of projects to digitize schools expands.


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