Feb 022013

Worldwide tablet shipments set another record in the last quarter of 2012. According to IDC, 52.5 million tablets were shipped over the quarter, an impressive 75.3% increase over the same quarter a year ago and a 74.3% increase over the previous quarter. Apple continued to dominate but its overall market share fell again as Android tablets continued to make gains.

“We expected a very strong fourth quarter, and the market didn’t disappoint,” said Tom Mainelli, research director, Tablets, at IDC. “New product launches from the category’s top vendors, as well as new entrant Microsoft, led to a surge in consumer interest and very robust shipments totals during the holiday season. The record-breaking quarter stands in stark contrast to the PC market, which saw shipments decline during the quarter for the first time in more than five years.”

Vendor 4Q12 Unit Shipments 4Q12 Market Share 4Q11 Unit Shipments 4Q11 Market Share Year-over-year Change
Apple 22.9 43.6% 15.5 51.7% 48.1%
Samsung 7.9 15.1% 2.2 7.3% 263.0%
Amazon.com Inc. 6.0 11.5% 4.7 15.9% 26.8%
ASUS 3.1 5.8% 0.6 2.0% 402.3%
Barnes & Noble 1.0 1.9% 1.4 4.6% -27.7%
Others 11.6 22.1% 5.5 18.5% 108.9%
Total 52.5 100% 29.9 100% 75.3%
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, January 31, 2013 (preliminary data)

Microsoft’s entry into the tablet space with the Surface RT did not crack the top five. IDC estimated that just under 900,000 units were shipped and that Microsoft could expect the market to remain challenging.

“There is no question that Microsoft is in this tablet race to compete for the long haul. However, devices based upon its new Windows 8 and Windows RT operating systems failed to gain much ground during their launch quarter, and reaction to the company’s Surface with Windows RT tablet was muted at best,” said Ryan Reith, program manager, Mobile Device Trackers at IDC. “We believe that Microsoft and its partners need to quickly adjust to the market realities of smaller screens and lower prices. In the long run, consumers may grow to believe that high-end computing tablets with desktop operating systems are worth a higher premium than other tablets, but until then ASPs on Windows 8 and Windows RT devices need to come down to drive higher volumes.”

Overall, the tablet landscape appears much as the smartphone one does: Apple and Samsung dominating with everyone else scrambling to make a dent.

Read more: IDC


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