Tablet shipments explode in Q4, but Apple still dominates

News Richard Goodwin 09:04, 31 Jan 2013

Apple still dominates the tablet space, but Samsung is bringing some serious game up its rear — 2013 should be interesting

IDC’s Q4 tablet stats are in and the results are impressive. More tablet shipments were made during the quarter than ever before. 52.5 million tablet devices shipped during the quarter, up 22.9 per cent from Q4 2011. 

Apple’s share of the space dropped for the second quarter in a row, down from 51.7 percent in Q4 2011 to 43.6 percent in Q4 2012. Apple still managed to shift some 22.9 million iPad devices during the quarter, illustrating it still knows how to shift hardware in large numbers. 

Overall the tablet space grew 75.3 percent year-on-year and increased 74.3 percent from the previous quarter, according to IDC. 

Samsung took second place with 15.1 per cent of the market in Q4 2012, shipping 7.9 million Windows & Android-powered tablets compared to just 2.2 million during Q4 2011. Year-on-year? That’s an increase of 263 per cent, adding further weight to the theory that Samsung is on its way to usurping Apple has king of the tablet space. 

‘We expected a very strong fourth quarter, and the market didn’t disappoint. 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,’ said Tom Mainelli, tablet research director at IDC.

Microsoft’s Surface RT slate failed to make the top five. IDC said Microsoft shipped just short of 900,000 units during the quarter. IDC reckons Microsoft needs to produce smaller cheaper Windows RT units to encourage wider adoption by consumers. 

‘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.

Asus – Google’s OEM partner for the Nexus 7 – increased its market share from 2 percent in Q4 2011 to 5.8 percent in Q4 2012, shipping 3.1 million Android and Windows tablet devices.

Asus is tipped to also be building Google’s new 7-inch Nexus slate, which is expected to launch at I/O 2013 in May

2013 looks set to be a very divisive period for the tablet space. 


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