Tablet as a device. Second life or accidental takeoff into a pandemic?


The increase in the diagonal of smartphone screens has led to the fact that tablets are less popular than before. This market has slowed down in development, and not everyone needs a tablet as a device. Large diagonal, the ability to connect a keyboard, a kind of replacement for a computer, a two-in-one device. But even in this capacity, tablets have not gained a large number of supporters. Look at how the sales of 2019 changed in relation to the period a year earlier, the market actually froze.

Tablet as a device. Second life or accidental takeoff into a pandemic?

In 2020, all the cards were confused by the pandemic and the fact that many people had to work from home, let’s look at the sales data for the third quarter of this year, a noticeable increase for almost all manufacturers.

Tablet as a device. Second life or accidental takeoff into a pandemic?

Look at the figures for the EMEA region, they are also interesting and say a lot about the market.

Tablet as a device. Second life or accidental takeoff into a pandemic?

The only reason for growth can be considered a pandemic, the transition to distance learning for both schoolchildren and students, such an explanation lies on the surface. And it is absolutely true, does not raise a shadow of doubt. But why did people buy tablets and not laptops? This question did not leave me, since all the studies that caught my eye claimed that the laptop market was growing, starting in February 2020, people bought laptops in all price categories and did it earlier than they planned before. No deferred demand, here and now laptops were purchased that were to be used at home. What reasons could have led people to choose tablets over laptops? The question has no obvious answer, since all the numbers indicate the absurdity of the situation. Look at the GFK data on consumer expectations, they are all negative in different countries.

Tablet as a device. Second life or accidental takeoff into a pandemic?

However, the tablet market is not as competitive as the laptop market and has fewer offerings. Buying a tablet for the home is less profitable for most buyers, you will have to pay a lot of money and get a device with the same or less capabilities. But the most important thing is that for the price of an average tablet, you can take a completely familiar laptop. And there is no logic in how the tablet market grew. Moreover, this is a tendency of more than one country; this is happening almost all over the world.

At the beginning of the year, the demand for tablets was influenced by the fact that many buyers had a certain amount of money, but could not buy the laptop they wanted, the deficit was noticeable due to increased demand. Tablets have become a kind of laptop replacement, and as such they make sense. Sales in the corporate segment increased as companies provided their employees with equipment for remote work. But there was no radical change in the perception of the tablet, such devices were large smartphones on which you can do whatever you want, including if you want to work, but they did not have the quality and functions of laptops.

The collapse of consciousness occurred around the middle of summer, when many people discussed how they experienced isolation, what devices helped them in this. And suddenly it turned out that a large screen for watching movies is good, tablets were bought primarily because of this, and in different price segments. In Russia, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, a large study was conducted in August 2020, in which tablet buyers were asked what features they need the most. Almost half of several thousand people bought a tablet for the first time, and the reason for this was the large screen, which is needed to watch movies, navigate the web. The business component for these devices, the ability to work with documents – all this faded into the background, or even into the background. There is a big discrepancy between what marketers offer to tablet buyers (work like a computer, replace a computer) and what people see in such a device. Do you know what made the tablets in comparison with laptops in the eyes of some buyers? The unity of the system, and here it does not matter whether it is iOS or Android. In fact, people wanted everything the same as in their smartphone, only with a bigger screen. Amazing? Not that word! After all, by and large, nothing has changed, this perception was on the market a year ago, as well as five years ago.

Do you know what has changed? People spent more time at home than usual, and therefore, buying a bedside device was justified for them. And here you can find another correlation, because TV sales also increased during this period. And many users had a choice between TV, tablet and laptop. Here is such an extraordinary set of devices that at first glance cannot be tied together, since you can hardly imagine a buyer who comes to look at a tablet and a TV at the same time, choosing between them, and at the same time watches laptops.

Such a market quirk baffled me, it is impossible to imagine a living person choosing within such a framework. But, as usual, life turns out to be much more interesting than our artificial constructions. Many people noted that they do not have a place to install a TV or they are not alone in the bedroom, the light from the large screen is distracting and annoying. Those who study did not watch TV at all, chose laptops or tablets. As well as the parents of schoolchildren looked at these devices, however, giving preference to laptops, and in most cases budgetary ones (it will work for a year or two, and well, and then we will figure out something new).

The consumption of new models with keyboards did not take off, sales of keyboards for tablets in Russia remained at the same level as a year earlier. That is, a tablet is still a device for entertainment. Or not?

Let’s try to find out what you think about this. Do you have a tablet? Which one? What opportunities do you use, do you plan to change (as an option, abandon it)? The pandemic spurred the sale of tablets, but did not add any new quality to them, is that right? Or do you still think that a renaissance has come for this category of devices?

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