May 6, 2012

Kindle Fire Sales Fall; Apple Remains Dominant In Tablet Market

Despite its status as the most commercially successful Android tablet to date, sales of Amazon's Kindle Fire have plummeted, falling from 4.8 million during the fourth quarter of 2011 to just 750,000 through the first four months of 2012, a new International Data Corporation (IDC) study has revealed.

According to Telegraph Consumer Technology Editor Matt Warman, the tablet's global market share fell from 16.8% to its current level of slightly more than 4%, causing Amazon to fall to third place behind dominant frontrunner/iPad producer Apple and fellow Android tablet manufacturer Samsung.

"The Kindle Fire's price, at less than half that of Apple's cheapest iPad, helped Amazon grab the No. 2 spot in the market behind Apple in the Fire's debut quarter," Bloomberg reporters Sarah Frier and Danielle Kucera said, adding that analysts told them that Kindle devices, including the Fire, "have historically sold best in the December quarter, when consumers buy them as gifts," and that sales of the device "may also be dropping off as customers delay purchases of electronics in anticipation of newer versions."

That may well be the case, but Geoff Duncan of Digital Trends said that while in many ways a post-holiday season drop in sales is "understandable," that Amazon "nonetheless faces significant challenges" -- not the least of which will come from Microsoft following their recent partnership with Barnes & Noble, as well as an anticipated forthcoming tablet from Google that he believes will give the Kindle Fire a run for its money in the price department.

Overall, Warman reports, IDC reported total first quarter 2012 worldwide tablet shipments of 17.4 million units, 1.2 million units below their projections for the quarter. Apple led the way, shipping 11.8 million iPad units for the quarter compared to 15.4 million during the previous quarter. Their market share increased from just under 55% at the end of 2011 to 68% during the first few months of this year, he added.

"Apple reasserted its dominance in the market this quarter, driving huge shipment totals at a time when all but a few Android vendors saw their numbers drop precipitously after posting big gains during the holiday buying season," IDC Mobile Connected Devices Research Manager Tom Mainelli told the Telegraph.

"Apple's move to position the iPad as an all-purpose tablet, instead of just a content consumption device, is resonating with consumers as well as educational and commercial buyers. And its decision to keep a lower-priced iPad 2 in the market after it launched the new iPad in March seems to be paying off as well," he added.


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