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% and 14% respectively compared to a year ago, according to a research by 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 three in five people in the Australian workforce now have a special setup allowing them to work from home, such as a space or room (38%); faster Internet (31%); additional computer monitors (22%); and ergonomic chairs (21%).
The survey (pictured below) says Apple remained the leading vendor in the tablet market with more than half of tablets sold in 2020 being iPads, increasing by 14% year-on-year. The study found the tablet replacement cycle was fuelled by the pandemic as consumers spent more time at home during 2020.
Consumers are also spending more with the average cost of tablets increasing by nearly 6% 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).
Computers still important for entertainment, e-commerce
The humble PC also saw a resurgence in 2020. The research found that 67% of computer sales were notebooks, up 3% from 2019 as Australians continued to favour the flexibility of laptop over desktops.
Like tablets, the average cost of computer devices in 2020 has increased by 14% 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% 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, up by 14%. Of the 4.1 million computers sold in 2020, the majority (84%) 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 consumer research, more than 6 million Australians played games on computers in 2020, an up by 13% from 2019—the most across all devices used for gaming.
The study also adds that 60% who shopped online used PCs as their main device when searching and making final purchases.
Telsyte’s research found 80% of tablets sold in 2020 were 2-in-1s, a surge from 59% in 2019.
The demand is mainly due to more newly-launched tablets equipped with keyboards, which are often purchased together. Examples of 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 like performance and batterly life from both the tablet’s and laptop’s ecosystems are still the main attraction for 2-in-1 buyers.
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 models.
Alvin Lee, Telsyte senior analyst, concludes: “2-in-1s are increasingly appealing as a potential laptop replacement with improved productivity and performance, along with the option for standalone mobile connectivity.”