IDC: Android tablets will overtake Apple’s iPad in worldwide market share by 2015

Worldwide media tablet shipments into sales channels rose by 56.1% on a sequential basis in the fourth calendar quarter of 2011 (4Q11) to 28.2 million units worldwide, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Media Tablet and eReader Tracker. That represents an increase of 155% from the fourth quarter of 2010. The market experienced stronger-than-expected growth across many regions and at many price points, leading to a full-year 2011 total of 68.7 million units. Based upon the markets’ strong 2011 finish, and the clear demand expected in 2012, IDC has increased its 2012 forecast to 106.1 million units, up from its previous forecast of 87.7 million units.

Despite an impressive debut by Amazon, which shipped 4.7 million Kindle Fires into the market, Apple continued to see strong growth in the quarter, shipping 15.4 million units in 4Q11, up from 11.1 million units in 3Q11. That represents a 54.7% worldwide market share (down from 61.5% in 3Q11). Amazon’s shipment total put the company in second place with 16.8% of the worldwide market. Third-place Samsung grew its share from 5.5% in 3Q11 to 5.8% in 4Q11. Despite shipping more units, including its new Nook Tablet, Barnes & Noble saw its worldwide market share slip to 3.5% (down from 4.5%). Pandigital rounded out the top five, grabbing 2.5% of the market, down from 2.9% the previous quarter.

MacDailyNews Take: How do they know that 4.7 million Kindle Fires were shipped when Amazon never gives Kindle Fire unit shipment figures? It’s a guess. For example, IHS iSupply estimates 3.9 million. B.S. made-up numbers vs. real sales, not shipping (channel stuffing), numbers from Apple. IDC’s house of cards lacks a foundation.

“Amazon’s widely-reported entry into the media tablet market with a $199, 7-inch product seemed to raise consumers’ awareness of the category worldwide despite the fact that the Fire shipped almost exclusively in the U.S. in the fourth quarter,” said Tom Mainelli, research director, Mobile Connected Devices, in the press release. “As a result, products across the pricing spectrum sold well, including everything from Apple’s premium-priced iPads (which start at $499) to Pandigital’s line of Android-based, entry-level tablets (which start at $120). The success of market leader Apple was particularly noteworthy, as the company’s shipment total for the quarter represents an increase of 110.5% from 4Q10.”

MacDailyNews Take: “Premium-priced iPads?” Puleeze. iPads start at US$399, not $499, Mr. Research Director. Instead of directing research, how about doing some? Now, name another 9.7-inch tablet with 1/10th of the ecosystem of Apple iPad that goes for less than $399. Hello? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

As predicted, Android made some strong gains in 4Q11, thanks in large part to the Amazon Kindle Fire’s success (the Fire runs a custom version of Google’s Android OS). Android grew its market share from 32.3% in 3Q11 to 44.6% in 4Q11. As a result, iOS slipped from 61.6% market share to 54.7%; Blackberry slipped from 1.1% to 0.7%. WebOS, which owned 5% of the worldwide market in 3Q11, dropped to zero in 4Q11. Looking ahead, IDC expects Android to continue to grow its share of the market at the expense of iOS.

“As the sole vendor shipping iOS products, Apple will remain dominant in terms of worldwide vendor unit shipments,” Mainelli said. “However, the sheer number of vendors shipping low-priced, Android-based tablets means that Google’s OS will overtake Apple’s in terms of worldwide market share by 2015. We expect iOS to remain the revenue market share leader through the end of our 2016 forecast period and beyond.”

MacDailyNews Take: iCal’ed for future use.

Despite the strong growth of media tablet shipments, ePaper-based eReaders also experienced stronger-than-expected growth in the fourth quarter. That growth occurred thanks to sharp price cuts in established markets such as the U.S. and Canada, as well as increasing shipments in regions outside of North America. In 4Q11 the worldwide total increased to 10.7 million units, up from 6.5 million units in 3Q11. That represents a quarter-over-quarter improvement of 64.6% and a year-over-year improvement of 64.3%. IDC expects growth to continue in 2012 as major players such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo look to expand into new international markets.

“Publishers in markets outside of North America are only just beginning to warm up to the idea of eBooks,” Mainelli added. “Once Amazon and others persuade these content owners to embrace digital formats, we expect eBook reader shipments into these regions to increase more rapidly.”

Source: International Data Corporation

MacDailyNews Take: No mention of Windows 8 tablets and their effect on the market. The wrong iPad entry-level price. Seemingly no weight given to potential patent infringement litigation outcomes. Another random estimate of Kindle Fire unit shipments. No mention of fragmentation and a significant case of AppLack™ on Android tablets.

There are simply too many mistakes and errors of omission to take this IDC report seriously.

Related articles:
Why Apple’s new iPad will lead through 2015 — and beyond – March 9, 2012
Why the Google Android tablet market is even weaker than it seems – March 8, 2012
Pent Up Demand: InMobi study reveals nearly 30% of mobile web users intend to purchase iPad 3 – March 2, 2012
Why Amazon’s tiny screen Kindle Fire can’t pierce Apple’s iPad sales – February 6, 2012


    1. Every year, they will just keep pushing the “day when Android overtakes iPad” a bit further out. 🙂

      These “projections” are ridiculous. Projections need to be based on current and recent trends, or they are just fantasy. The current and recent trends are that every direct competitor for iPad has failed and lost money for their companies. The only meaningful new tablet entry is Kindle Fire, and it intentionally avoids competing directly with iPad, and it intentionally sells at a loss per unit.

      Based on actual real world (not fantasy) trends, my “projection” is that iPad’s position will become ever stronger (and more profitable) with each new release. With Apple making most of the available profit in tablet computers, no one else will be able to afford to even attempt keeping up with Apple. By 2015 (or even 2013), the competition will be reduced to the “fringes,” making products that do not compete directly with Apple… a repeat of iPod’s dominance. So, there will be ultra-low-end tablets (like Kindle Fire). There will be “tablets” that are too large and heavy to hold and use, and need to be propped up on a desktop. There will be a return of “convertible” tablets that have a built-in physical keyboard (especially after Windows 8 is released).

  1. So how much did Google pay for this Article?

    if they count the Fire/nook they have a chance to be #2… over take the iPad?…. not a chance.

    well… apple could decide the iPad is no longer worth making and discontinue it in the next year. Then Android could overtake the iPad.

    thats the only Scenario I see.

    Wait, just thought of another one..

    Apple renames the iPad into something else.
    the old “iPad” will then be overtaken by the Android devices.

  2. And I call BS on the 4.7 figure for Kindle Fires as Amazon themselves said that included *all* Kindle models, not just Fires. Absurd report that’s trying to drum up a “tablet” market where we all know there’s only an iPad market.

    1. Kindle Fire actually helps Apple in the long run by building the customer base for tablet computers at a faster rate. Those Kindle Fire customers will buy a “real” iPad eventually. Without Kindle Fire at $199, they may never have taken the risk of getting a tablet computer (at least not so soon). And people who are buying an iPad now are not going to settle for a Kindle Fire instead.

      Kindle Fire is not taking away current iPad customers, just creating MORE future iPad customers. The higher the actual Kindle Fire sales number, the better it is for Apple.

      1. That’s pretty funny. I just got a Kindle Fire recently and have no plans on buying an iPad anytime soon. But yes, let’s sell more Kindle Fires and Nook Tablets and cheap Android tablets – the more of those that sell, the better it is for Apple.

  3. “Despite an impressive debut by Amazon, which shipped 4.7 million Kindle Fires into the market”

    what?… wasn’t this reported as TOTAL kindles SHIPPED. and there are what 18 models now?…

    and thats 15.4 million iPad’s SOLD not shipped.
    the numbers the article quotes are ALL mislabeled, Apple does NOT report shipped numbers… only SOLD. everyone else posts SHIPPED.

    Every article always misrepresents these numbers…

    1. Your correct, the numbers where a estimate “that word-again” on the total ammount of all kindles sold..” All Kindels- every model” Not just the fire.

      Funny also that if you go to Amazons site, check the return rate.

      This Report is a trumped up piece of garbage, wonder how long Amazon will take a loss on these plastic paper weights, shareholders where very upset of the losses it took a few weeks ago…

      The iPad is the Standard, IOS is sold and Apple is making improvements that users with pervious models can update to, More them I can say for thoes poor Android based knockoffs.

  4. Here’s what they teach at “Analysis 101”:

    -compare the 2 most recent quarters
    -draw a line connecting the 2 and extend it out to a point where no one will remember how stupid your prediction was

    The Gartners and IDCs of the world have been doing this for years, yet people still pay them to have them read the current time off their own wristwatches.

  5. MDN’s last Take there is a perfect summary, and should be affixed to any reproduction of this report.

    Oh, and their continued attempts to push the term “media tablets” are really starting to grate. The iPad can do so much more than merely “consume content” – hello GarageBand, iMovie, iPhoto, etc. I suppose that’s just another reflection of their continued cluelessness in this area.

  6. Yea, yea…. It is the same with costume Jewelry. Retailers set to debut line of 14ct gold with cubic stones of Tiffany’s & Co current offerings. , Market share of Tiffany & Co to be surpassed by imatation Jewelry from major retailer branding by end of 2013. This is a major concern for the exclusive retailer. Stock is expect to plummet with expected lost in profits!

    What ever, dumb arses!!!

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