Despite disruptions in 2020, demand for both tablets and PCs increased.
A shift to working from home (WFH), more remote learning and entertainment uses such as gaming, has resulted in 3.4 million tablets and 4.1 million computer PCs being sold in 2020, up 12 per cent and 14 per cent respectively compared to a year ago, according to new research from emerging technology analyst firm, Telsyte.
The Telsyte Australian Tablet Computer Market Study 2021 found demand for accessories has also surged as people improved their work from home environment. Telsyte research found 3 in 5 people in the Australian workforce now have a special setup allowing them to work from home, such as a dedicated space or room (38 per cent); faster Internet (31 per cent); additional computer monitors (22 per cent); and ergonomic chairs (21 per cent).
Apple remained the leading vendor in the tablet market with more than half of tablets sold in 2020 being iPads, increasing by 14 per cent year-on-year. The study found the tablet replacement cycle was fuelled by the pandemic as consumers spent more time at home during 2020.
The top 3 vendors for 2020 – Apple, Samsung and Microsoft – had combined sales reaching nearly 85 per cent of total tablet market.
Consumers are also spending more with the average cost of tablets increasing by nearly 6 per cent year-on-year to around $850 in 2020. This is due to higher demand for better performance and a preference for 2-in-1s over traditional slate-only use cases (i.e., purchasing keyboard accessories).
The humble PC also saw a resurgence in 2020 with Telsyte research finding 67 per cent of computer sales were notebooks, up 3 per cent from 2019 as Australians continued to favour the flexibility of laptop form factors over desktops.
Like tablets, the average cost of computer devices in 2020 has increased by 14 per cent year-on-year to over $1,200, driven by demand for better performance, larger screen sizes and supply shortages that pushed up prices.
Sales of Apple’s Mac computers increased by 16 per cent in 2020, in part driven by the huge interest in Apple’s new M1 system-on-a-chip. Windows computers also saw double digit growth in sales, increasing by 14 per cent. Of the 4.1 million computers sold in 2020, the majority (84 per cent) were Windows-based devices.
Computers remained the primary device for Australians when it comes to entertainment and other online activities such as online shopping. According to Telsyte’s latest consumer research, more than 6 million Australians played games on computers in 2020, an increase of 13 per cent from 2019 – the most across all devices used for gaming.
The PC is still the main device used for search and make final purchases for nearly 60 per cent of those who conducted online shopping activities in 2020.
New, more powerful 2-in-1s set to challenge PC market
Telsyte’s research found 80 per cent of tablets sold in 2020 were 2-in-1s, a surge from 59 per cent in 2019.
This spike is mainly due to more new tablets being released having specifically designed keyboards which are often purchased together. Examples of popular 2-in-1s include Apple’s iPad 8th gen, iPad Air 4th gen, Samsung Galaxy Tab S7/S7+ and the Microsoft Surface Pro X.
According to Telsyte’s ongoing research, the versatility and features from both the tablet’s and laptop’s ecosystems is still the main attraction for many 2-in-1 buyers, as is better performance and battery life.
Premium Windows 2-in-1s have been demonstrating the capability to support business, education and other industry specific applications comparable to Windows laptops. However, Telsyte believes the most recent release of iPad Pro (2021) will further strengthen the iPad’s position to take on the full-fledged PC market with the more powerful M1 chip that was only released late in 2019 on a few Mac model.
“2-in-1s are increasingly appealing as a potential laptop replacement with improved productivity and performance, along with the option for standalone mobile connectivity,” says Telsyte Senior Analyst, Alvin Lee.