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Govt, ed-tech boosts tablet shipments in India, but consumer interest declines

Govt, ed-tech boosts tablet shipments in India, but consumer interest declines
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
16 May, 2022
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The resurgence in India’s demand for tablets, which was boosted by the covid-19 pandemic, is nearing its end among consumers. However, while fewer users are looking to buy tablets for personal usage, government projects, ed-tech platforms and new office setups in the commercial space are keeping the demand for tablets on the rise in India.

Explaining what is still adding to tablet shipments in India, Navkendar Singh, research director at the International Data Corporation (IDC), said, that the inability of laptop OEMs to meet government contracts due to supply chain issues in the past two years saw tablet makers attract interest from various state and central government departments. As a result, OEMs have won bulk orders from government projects, which have pushed shipment numbers upward.

Tanvi Sharma, research associate at Counterpoint Research, agreed, adding that the tablet segment had long been squeezed between large screen phones and laptops, but 2021 has been different. According to data from Counterpoint, the shipments of tablets grew by 28% year-on-year in 2021, and is projected to grow to 5 million units in 2022.

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On May 5, the Haryana state government announced its personalized and adaptive learning (PAL) programme, for which a governance consulting firm Samagra will be supplying 5 lakh tablets to students enrolled in grades 10th, 11th and 12th across all government schools in the state.

Aditya Chopra, vice president of Samagra, said that the company has already won the tender to supply an additional 5 lakh tablets to bring students from the 9th grade in Haryana’s government schools into the fold. The government-backed project has the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) supplying the software framework for a hybrid learning interface delivered through tablets.

The tablets Chopra is providing are supplied by Samsung, which is amongst the top players in India right now. A quarterly report published by market research firm Cybermedia Research, today, said that Lenovo, Apple and Samsung took the top three spots in the Indian market, respectively.

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The report also said that tablet shipments in India in Q1, 2022, grew by 68% year-on-year (YoY).

Private ed-tech players are also driving the need for tablets and form the second-highest sector for these devices in India, according to IDC’s Singh. “Byju’s, for instance, ships tablets with their education bundle. In fact, if they were to make their own tablets, Byju’s would probably be third or fourth in shipments by tablet OEMs in India,” said Singh.

But despite all this growth, experts noted that tablet shipments are unlikely to see very high growth in the long run. Singh noted that commercial demand will make up for falling consumer demand, and will keep demand for tablets flat at around 4.3 million units for 2022.

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He also noted that smartphone OEMs, like Xiaomi and Realme, have been launching new Android-based tablets too. However, it is unlikely that this will drive users to spend money on tablets over smartphones in future.