As Tablet Sales Continue To Surge, Apple Shows It Is Still King
May 2, 2013

As Tablet Sales Continue To Surge, Apple Shows It Is Still King

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

The International Data Company (IDC) has just released their latest tablet report which confirms the world´s hottest new love affair with these mobile devices. Tablet shipments have grown exponentially year over year, about 142.4 percent, in the first quarter of 2013. IDC claims the actual number of tablets sold in 1Q13 is 49.2 million, even more than the number of tablets shipped in the first half of 2012. As they´ve done in the past, IDC attributes this surge to the popularity of smaller screens of eight inches or less, and says they see no sign of tablet sales slowing down.

Tom Mainelli, the research director for tablets at IDC, says Apple tablets specifically are driving the entire tablet market.

“Sustained demand for the iPad mini and increasingly strong commercial shipments led to a better-than expected first quarter for Apple,” said Mainelli. “In addition, by moving the iPad launch to the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple seems to have avoided the typical first-quarter slowdown that traditionally occurred when consumers held off buying in January and February in anticipation of a new product launch in March.”

IDC had expected a strong showing from Apple in this quarter, projecting them to ship some 18.7 million iPads and iPad minis. Apple outperformed these projections, shipping a total of 19.5 million units. This is especially noteworthy in the first quarter, a period when Apple´s tablet sales see a steep decline after a bustling holiday quarter. The Cupertino-based company managed to ship nearly 23 million iPads in the last closing quarter of 2012.

Just as it´s been for several preceding quarters, Samsung sits at a distant second behind Apple, shipping 8.8 million units. IDC says Samsung also outperformed their expectations, shipping a larger number of smaller tablets to gain more traction in the market. As Android becomes more popular, more people are looking to buy Samsung, according to the report, a trend which should continue to push Samsung´s numbers.

Though Apple is responsible for nearly 40 percent of overall global tablet shipments, and though they shipped more than double the amount Samsung did, they did see a significant drop in market share since 1Q12. As 2012 began, Apple celebrated a 58.1 percent market share with Samsung in a very distant second at 11.3 percent. As of 1Q13, Apple´s market share has fallen to 39.6 percent, Samsung´s up to 17.9. This represents a total year-over-year growth of 65.3 percent for Apple and 282.6 percent for Samsung.

The global tablet market on the whole saw a 142.4 percent increase over last year.

ASUS wedged themselves in at third place last quarter, shipping only 2.7 million tablets, with Amazon and Microsoft filling out the top five at 1.8 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.

Microsoft´s latest tablet push has not gone unnoticed, it seems. According to the IDC report, this is the first time Microsoft has entered the top five shipping manufacturers list. The company shipped nearly 900,000 tablets, the majority of which were the Surface Pro. This offering did not become available in Canada and the US until February, suggesting a strong interest in this tablet. Sales of the previous Surface with Windows RT were sluggish, so much so that CEO Steve Ballmer only said sales were “modest.”

In closing, the IDC report mentions that even if Microsoft releases a smaller tablet as they´re rumored to do, there are still too many issues which need to be addressed first before they can compete with the Apples and Samsungs of the world.

“Clearly the market is moving toward smart 7-8 inch devices, but Microsoft´s larger challenges center around consumer messaging and lower cost competition,” explained Ryan Reith, a program manager for IDC. “If these challenges are addressed, along with the desired screen size variations, then we could see Microsoft make even further headway in 2013 and beyond.”