As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to reshape the way people around the world live and work, two new reports suggest there’s been an impact on the types of mobile devices people are buying.

According to IDC, global tablet shipments were up nearly 25-percent in the third quarter of 2020 when compared to the same period a year earlier.

Meanwhile Canalys reports that smartphone shipments fell by about 1-percent in the third quarter.

Apple iPad Air

Both trends make sense: smartphone aren’t as important at a time when many people may not be out and about as frequently as they had been before the pandemic, but with tablets and other devices with larger screens come in handy when you’re working, studying, or Zooming from home.

That said, while tablet shipment growth was higher, there are still far more smartphones being shipped. According to IDC, a total of 47.6 million tablets were shipped in the third quarter, with Apple leading the pack, followed by Samsung, Amazon, Huawei, and Lenovo.

Canalysis reports that 348 million smartphones were shipped, with Samsung taking the top spot, followed by Huawei, Xiaomi, Apple, and Vivo.

One change of note: Xiaomi overtook Apple to snag third place in smartphone shipments during the quarter. It’s unclear if that trend will continue, but I suspect that now that Apple’s iPhone 12 series is here, we’ll see a bump in iPhone sales in the coming months.

Top Five Tablet Companies, Worldwide Shipments, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, Third Quarter 2020 (Preliminary results, combined company view for the current quarter only, shipments in millions)
Vendor3Q20 Unit Shipments3Q20
Market Share
3Q19 Unit Shipments3Q19
Market Share
Year-Over-Year Growth
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly PCD Tracker, October 29, 2020
Worldwide smartphone shipments and annual growth
Canalys Smartphone Market Pulse: Q3 2020
VendorQ3 2020 shipments (million)Q3 2020 Market shareQ3 2019 shipments (million)Q3 2019 Market shareAnnual
Others94.027.0%100.628.6% -7%
Note: percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding
Source: Canalys estimates (sell-in shipments), Smartphone Analysis, October 2020

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