scorecardBiggies like Samsung and Apple to newbies Realme and OnePlus, everyone wants a pie of the Indian tablet market
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Biggies like Samsung and Apple to newbies Realme and OnePlus, everyone wants a pie of the Indian tablet market

Biggies like Samsung and Apple to newbies Realme and OnePlus, everyone wants a pie of the Indian tablet market
Tech4 min read
  • The Indian tablet market is on a revival path after declining for four years.
  • Samsung was the biggest gainer in 2020, while market leader Lenovo registered a decline.
  • Industry leaders and probable new entrants alike are gung-ho about the prospects of the Indian tablet market.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way of life for many people, forcing them to realign their daily workflows and reassess their approach to work. But an often-overlooked aspect in a post-COVID world is education – students as young as 8-10 years old are being asked to attend classes virtually.

The need to buy a device to go online is not limited to just students. Be it professionals working from home, or the boom in usage of OTT (over-the-top) services like Netflix, Hotstar, among others, the Indian tablet market has shot back to life after a lull.

According to a Counterpoint Research report, the global tablet market saw shipments jump by 53% in the June quarter.

As far as India is concerned, an IDC report reveals the tablet market grew 14.7% through 2020, led by the consumer segment, which witnessed a surge of 60%.

Lenovo continues to lead the market with a share of 39%, but year-on-year, it registered a decline. Samsung gained the most, taking its share from 19% in 2019 to 32% in 2020.

Shift to digital learning, work from home not temporary

Industry leaders believe the shift to digital learning and work from home is not temporary.

“The shift towards digital for learning and entertainment is not temporary. This trend is expected to continue and the demand for tablets will continue to be strong,” Pankaj Harjai, director of tablets and smart devices at Lenovo India, told Business Insider.

“This trend is going to continue. In fact, the adoption will increase in both commercial and consumer sectors, as more and more applications are being developed with tablets as the digital device,” Harjai added.

The tablet market’s resurgence could attract new players

It’s not just the current market leaders that think this way.

Realme, known for its smartphones, is also rumoured to dip its toes in the tablet space. But before it does, it’s worth looking at what Realme India’s chief executive officer thinks about the tablet industry.

“E-learning has been a major factor that has been increasing the utility of tablets. Tablets are also becoming a very convenient product to operate and use in ‘work from home scenarios,” Madhav Sheth, vice president, Realme, and chief executive officer, Realme India and Europe, told Business Insider in an interview.

Joining Realme in the list of companies rumoured to launch their first tablet is another BBK group company, OnePlus. However, the tablet is likely under early stages of development, so the launch could still be a few months away.

“Tablet penetration in India is still quite low, so there is plenty of space for growth. We want to disrupt the market and provide the best to our customers by including all those features that no other brand has previously offered on the market in the tablet segment,” Sheth added, shedding light on Realme’s approach to tablets.

The M1 iPad leads yet again with major performance gains

The iPad Pro launched this year with the Apple M1 chipset is yet another testament to the growing importance of tablets as not just entertainment or learning devices, but also as something that is useful for productivity and creative tasks.

The M1 iPad Pro might still be a ways away from replacing a laptop, but it is powerful enough to make it a great fit thanks to the Magic Pencil stylus and the keyboard accessories. While these accessories have been around for a while, the M1 chipset’s performance boost allows you to extract more from the iPad than ever before.

Bendable displays and folding phones could act as a catalyst for tablet adoption

Foldable phones are slowly but steadily gaining prominence, thanks to companies like Samsung, Huawei, Motorola and Xiaomi launching products with bendable screens.

While these phones are still expensive, they are going mainstream slowly and could help usher in a lot more portable tablets than what we have in the markets right now.

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the latest foldable smartphone that is closing in on the tablet category, but imagine a scenario where you could get a full-fledged tablet with a 10-inch display that can be folded in half? That would make tablets immediately attractive for a much larger audience.


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