BOSTON—While supply constraints dented tablet sales in the fourth quarter of 2021, sending shipments down 25%, new data from Strategy Analytics shows that some players have done better than others.

Microsoft, for example, capitalized on the need for mobile productivity devices with a massive Surface portfolio refresh that boosted sales and propelled it into the ranks of the world’s leading tablet vendors for the very first time.

The new Strategy Analytics report also notes that the supply constraints that so severely hurt the market at the end of 2021 appear to be easing. He warned, however, that it was unclear whether demand for new tables would continue into 2022 or whether frustrated consumers had turned to other interests.

“Last year’s pre-vaccine holiday quarter was hard to compare and when you add in the severe supply constraints affecting tablet vendors, it added up to a disappointing quarter,” explained Eric Smith, director – connected computing at Strategy Analytics. “What’s infuriating is that demand far outstripped supply at the end of 2021, which dampened revenue growth for everyone. There are signs that supply shortages are escalating. are already easing in 2022, but we don’t expect this to end until the summer.”

“For the full year, total tablet shipments fell just 3% to 183.1 million units,” added Chirag Upadhyay, industry analyst at Strategy Analytics. “Demand was consistently high throughout the year, but supply constraints caught up with all suppliers by the end of the year. This is due to two factors. First, vendors prioritized laptop production to meet the demand for working from home and now hybrid working. Second, it was difficult to juggle the supply components that tablets and smartphones share. »

Apple’s shipments (sales) fell 22% year-on-year to 14.6 million units in Q4 2021, with global market share rising 1 percentage point to 31% as the vendor outpaced the market

While still the top Android vendor, Samsung tablet shipments fell 28% year-on-year in Q4 2021 to 7.3 million units; Market share fell by 0.7 percentage points to 16% over the same period, the researchers noted.

Amazon performed best among Android vendors with its deep holiday discounts; shipments decreased by 13% to 5.8 million units and market share increased by 1.7 percentage points to 12%

Lenovo tablet shipments interrupted a nine-quarter streak of growth to fall 17% during the fourth quarter of 2021 to 4.6 million units; market share increased by 1 percentage point year-on-year to 10%

For the first time ever, Microsoft cracked the list of the top five global vendors with tablet shipments totaling 1.9 million units and a marginal year-over-year growth rate of 1%; market share up 1 percentage point to 4%

The full report from Strategy Analytics’ Connected Computing Devices (CCD) service, “Preliminary Global Tablet Shipments and Market Share: Q4 2021 Results” is available here.

(Image credit: Strategy Analytics)