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Tablet demand drops as physical classes resume

THE return of face-to-face classes dampened demand for tablets in the Philippines in the third quarter, according to the International Data Corp. (IDC).

“The Philippines tablet market declined 11.6% quarter on quarter in the third quarter, and was almost flat compared to last year,” the market intelligence company said in a report issued on Nov. 27.

The education market has been the primary driver of tablet sales in the Philippines since schools resorted to blended learning during the pandemic.

“But (the sale of tablets for school use) declined by 47.8% quarter on quarter and 42.4% year on year as more schools, both public and private, returned to physical classes as part of the Department of Education’s expansion of face-to-face classes,” IDC Philippines Market Analyst Angela Jenny V. Medez noted.

With public schools reverting to physical classes beginning November, and the looming global economic slowdown, the IDC expects the tablet market to decline in 2023.

“Even though more Chinese vendors have turned up in the tablet space and sparked competition, we don’t expect them to offset the slowdown of the overall tablet market,” Ms. Medez added.

The top five tablet brands in the Philippines in the third quarter were Samsung with a 43.5% market share, realme (13.9%), Cherry Mobile (11.2%), Huawei (8.6%), and Lenovo (6.4%).

Samsung “more than doubled its shipments compared to the previous quarter and grew 37.7% year on year,” the IDC said.

“This was driven by its top-selling Galaxy Tab A7 Lite model that accounted for almost 80% of its shipments,” it added.

The market intelligence company previously reported that smartphone shipments to the Philippines also fell in the third quarter as a result of inflation and recent typhoons.

Smartphone shipments declined by 8% quarter on quarter and 6.8% year on year, with 3.9 million units shipping in the third quarter, the IDC said.

Recent typhoons and inflation hurt both consumers and vendors, according to the market intelligence company.

“Vendors took a more conservative approach by clearing inventories, maintaining prices of existing models, and sustaining momentum by bringing in more affordable smartphones,” Ms. Medez noted.

Inflation accelerated to 7.7% in October, the highest in nearly 14 years. — Arjay L. Balinbin