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Tablets spike in popularity during pandemic lockdown, report finds

The surge in remote learning and working appears to have given the devices a big boost.


Shipments of iPads and other tablets increased year over year during a period of time when many people were on lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Tablet shipments for the top five brands rose notably in the second quarter of this year, according to analysts at Canalys, a market research firm. The upswing came just when people around the world were asked to work remotely and keep their kids home from school to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Shipments were 26% higher than during the same time period in 2019, and were approaching numbers more typically seen during the holiday shopping season, the report said. Apple led the pack, shipping 14 million iPads from April through June, and competitors Samsung, Amazon, Huawei and Lenovo all saw year-over-year increases in shipments as well.

"The coronavirus pandemic has increased competition for communal screen access between household members forced to stay indoors," said Ishan Dutt, an analyst for Canalys. "Tablets help overcome this problem by allowing each family member to have their own device. And they are more budget-friendly than desktops and notebooks."