We learned earlier this month that PC shipments continued to surge during the first quarter of 2021. Now IDC reports that two particular product categories are doing particularly well: Chromebooks and tablets.

According to IDC, 39.9 million tablets were shipped in the first quarter of 2021, which is a 55.2 percent increase over the same period a year earlier.

Chromebook shipments were more modest, at 13 million. But that marks a 357.1 percent increase over the 2.8 million units that shipped in Q1, 2020.

Apple iPad Air (4th-gen)

The research firm chalks the increase in Chromebook shipments up to their growing prominence in the education space, particularly in developed countries where internet access is widely available.

Strong tablet shipments, meanwhile, are attributed to continuing demand for work-from-home hardware during the COVID-19 pandemic. While that’s certainly led to more people buying laptops and other personal computers, there’ve been a lot of shipments of tablets including 2-in-1 devices that work with detachable keyboards.

With that in mind, it’s interesting to note that Apple (which sells a line of keyboard covers for its iPad tablets) continues to be the market leader with nearly a 32-percent market share according to IDC’s estimates, followed by Samsung and Lenovo (which also offer keyboard accessories). In fourth and fifth place are Amazon and Huawei, and it’s interesting to note that earlier this this week Amazon introduced the new Fire HD 10 Productivity Bundlewhich is the first version of the company’s low-cost tablets that will ship with a Bluetooth keyboard and a 12-month subscription to Microsoft 365  Personal (which includes access to Office applications plus 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage).

It’ll be interesting to see if Amazon’s expanded offering helps the company pick up any market share in the next few quarters.

Top Five Tablet Companies, Worldwide Shipments, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q1 2021 (Preliminary results, combined company view for the current quarter only, shipments in millions)
Company1Q21 Shipments1Q21 Market Share1Q20 Shipments1Q20 Market ShareYear-Over-Year Growth
1. Apple12.731.7%7.730.0%64.3%
2. Samsung8.020.0%5.019.3%60.8%
3. Lenovo3.89.4%1.66.1%138.1%
4. Amazon3.58.7%1.45.6%143.0%
5. Huawei2.76.8%2.710.4%1.7%
Others9.323.3%7.328.5%26.5%
Total39.9100.0%25.7100.0%55.2%
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly PCD Tracker, April 29, 2021

In terms of Chromebooks, IDC says HP leads the pack with a 33.5 percent market share, followed by Lenovo (25.6 percent), Acer (14.5 percent), Dell (11.3 percent) and Samsung (8 percent).

Top Five Chromebook Companies, Worldwide Shipments, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q1 2021 (Preliminary results, combined company view for the current quarter only, shipments in millions)
Company1Q21 Shipments1Q21 Market Share1Q20 Shipments1Q20 Market ShareYear-Over Year Growth
1. HP Inc4.433.5%0.620.9%633.9%
2. Lenovo3.325.6%0.725.6%356.2%
3. Acer Group1.914.5%0.826.4%150.9%
4. Dell Technologies1.511.3%0.312.1%327.1%
5. Samsung1.08.0%0.26.1%496.0%
Others0.97.2%0.38.9%267.2%
Total13.0100.0%2.8100.0%357.1%
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, April 29, 2021

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  1. A few years ago, die hard Microsoft fans said numbers like these were nonsense. Microsoft Windows couldn’t possibly have less than 90% market share. Their argument was that Chromebooks and Tablets were not ‘real’ computers and should not be counted. Now fast-forward to 2021. Most of these devices sold are not the traditional WinTel desktop PCs Microsoft fans were trying to hang onto so desperately.

  2. I wonder how much stimulus money went to technology spending? For families that kept their jobs, I suspect it was significant. If this is the case, spending should go down next year (and in following years). I would not expect year-on-year gains in technology spending after now.

    1. I’m guessing this is potentially true even for families where jobs were lost (some of them) since kids (if they have them) still needed something to access school online.