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After five quarters of growth driven by accelerated buying for remote work and learning, the global shipments of Chromebooks and tablets have recorded their first decline in the third quarter (Q3) since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, a new International Data Corporation (IDC) report has said.

Easing restrictions across several geographies led to increased spending in other categories, which weakened Chromebook and tablet demand.

Chromebook shipments declined 29.8 percent (on-year) in the third quarter with volumes dropping to 6.5 million units while tablet shipments recorded a 9.4 percent (on-year) decline falling to 42.3 million units.

Lenovo led the Chromebook shipments with 23.1 percent share while Apple led the tablet shipments with 34.6 percent share.

Many schools and governments blew out their budgets to provide devices for remote learning and even consumers aggressively purchased devices for learning in 2020. As a result, some saturation in the education market is expected in the near term,” – Anuroopa Nataraj, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers.

However, Chromebooks continue to increase their footprint in emerging markets such as Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan and China), Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa.

“But sales in these regions account for less than 13 percent overall Chromebook volume and hence are far from moving the global market,” Nataraj added.

Despite the slowdown in demand, commercial use of tablets in verticals such as logistics, healthcare, and banking is expected to persist as the pandemic has changed the way many of these businesses conduct day-to-day operations, the report showed on Monday.

“Though reduced demand is largely to blame for the declines in these categories, limited supply has also been a factor,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC’s Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers.

The combination of these two factors is likely to create opportunities for PC makers as shared components, production capacity, and freight availability could be shifted to other categories such as Windows notebooks or perhaps gaming PCs, he added.

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