As world waited for iPad mini, Apple’s share of tablet market dropped from 65.5% to 50.4%

Worldwide tablet shipments totaled 27.8 million units in the third quarter of 2012 (3Q12), according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. The tablet market grew 49.5% year over year in 3Q12 and 6.7% over the second quarter of 2012. Android shipments, led by Samsung and Amazon, surged during the quarter, at the expense of Apple, which saw its share slip notably during the quarter.

“After a very strong second quarter, Apple saw growth slow as both consumer and commercial (including education) shipments declined, and rumors of a forthcoming iPad mini began to heat up,” said Tom Mainelli, research director, Tablets at IDC, in the press release. “We believe a sizeable percentage of consumers interested in buying an Apple tablet sat out the third quarter in anticipation of an announcement about the new iPad mini. Now that the new mini, and a fourth-generation full-sized iPad, are both shipping we expect Apple to have a very good quarter. However, we believe the mini’s relatively high $329 starting price leaves plenty of room for Android vendors to build upon the success they achieved in the third quarter.”

Apple’s slowdown put a sizeable dent in the company’s commanding worldwide market tablet share, which slipped from 65.5% in 2Q12 to 50.4% in 3Q12. The remaining top five tablet vendors all gained share during the quarter as a result. Most notable was the impressive quarter turned out by Samsung—driven by its Galaxy Tab and Note 10.1. Samsung shipped 5.1 million tablets worldwide in 3Q12, up 115.0% from 2Q12; that’s an increase of 325.0% from 3Q11, when it shipped 1.2 million tablets.

The top 5 was rounded out by Amazon, ASUS, and Lenovo; with all three vendors experiencing sequential growth over 2Q12 while Lenovo and ASUS also saw solid year-over-year growth. Amazon, which did not have product in 3Q11, announced new 7-inch and 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD tablets late in the quarter, and began shipping the new 7-inch HD version (in addition to a refreshed version of the original 7-inch Fire) in mid-September. This helped grow its worldwide market share from 4.8% in 2Q12 to 9.0% in 3Q12, despite only shipping in the U.S. (the company began shipping into five additional countries in 4Q12). ASUS’ share growth was backed by strong shipments of its Google-branded Nexus 7 device; Lenovo’s gains were driven by strong shipments in China.

“Samsung took advantage of an opportunity in the second quarter,” said Ryan Reith, program manager, IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers, in the press release. “The company offers a wide range of tablet offerings across multiple screen sizes and colors, and that clearly resonated with more buyers this quarter. Its growth to 18.4% of worldwide market share during the quarter represents the first time a competitor has attained this level of share since the original launch of the iPad.”

“Competitors are turning up the pressure on market leader Apple,” Reith added. “With the recent introduction of a number of Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, consumers now have a third viable tablet platform from which to choose. However, price points are critical in tablets, and Microsoft and its partners will have a tough time winning a share of consumer wallet with price points starting at $500.”

Top 5 Vendors, Worldwide Tablet Shipments, Third Quarter 2012 (Preliminary) (Units Shipments are in millions)
IDC: Top 5 Vendors, Worldwide Tablet Shipments, Third Quarter 2012 (Preliminary) (Units Shipments are in millions)
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, November 5, 2012 (preliminary data)

Table Notes:
Some IDC estimates prior to financial earnings reports.
Amazon didn’t begin shipments of its tablet products until 4Q11
Shipments include shipments to distribution channels or end users. OEM sales are counted under the vendor/brand under which they are sold.

Source: International Data Corporation

MacDailyNews Take: As expected, iPad sales paused somewhat ahead of heavy rumors of iPad mini. This we already knew from Apple’s most recent earning report. IDC’s numbers are based on estimates. Amazon and Samsung do not report tablet unit sales or shipments and IDC’s numbers for all vendors not named Apple include “shipments to distribution channels.” Stuff the channel and IDC give you credit in their market share tallies. The 14 million attributed to Apple are iPad units sold as stated in Apple’s fiscal 2012 fourth quarter (ended September 29, 2012) earnings report.


      1. Anyway, I doubt that Samsung and other manufacturers’ sales would all of sudden jump.

        As always, IDC intentionally waited for when Apple would announce the quantity of tablets they sold to fit in their calculations.

        This is because no one really knows the size of tablet market, and because besides Apple almost no one really reports hard figures.

        So this IDC report is purely made up. They came up with 27.8 million units figure and waited for Apple to announce their results to find out the share that Apple has verus others.

    1. +1

      Back to the shipped instead of sold numbers. So, all the other manufacturers fill the supply chain with crap so they can stand on their numbers and hope they can sell 25% of their “shipped” products.

      You are exactly right, que the meaningless BS.

  1. So Apple shows YoY growth of 26.1% and “Others” show YoY “growth” of -38.9% and IDC claims “… at the expense of Apple”

    Amongst friends we’ll round and note that even while the world awaited the iPad mini, Apple still sold as many in a month as Samsung sold all quarter.

    Let’s wait and see how many of those Samsung junkers get returned and exchanged for an iPad…

  2. The world doesn’t care about quality. They eat cheap tacky sh1t. That’s why America does so well with its international brand franchises. Macdonalds, Ford, Coke. All sh1t and poison to human well being. But they are what humans want cos most if us are idiots living p1ss poor excuses of a life, enslaved in false promises while we pay of pointless debts trying to climb a ladder called social status. That’s why android would win, that’s why windows took the crown for so long. Apple is a niche player and is par excellence in everything it does. Who gives a fig about the mainstream?

    1. I’m sorry that you consider yourself an idiot. Your words not mine. If that’s the way you feel, buy everything that is not American. We still design and manufacture great products in America. And yes, many are assembled in other countries. I wish that could change but that seems to be the way it is for now. But we must be doing something right because everybody wants to come to America. I don’t see Americans fleeing our country to live overseas anywhere. People are illegally crossing the border into our country from the south every day. So we must have something they want? I’m glad I’m here. I think everybody who is in America is glad they are here and not elsewhere. Enjoy your Android phone. As long as it lasts.

  3. As with Macs, iPhones, and now iPads, its just a matter of time before Apple looses its position. With multiple companies putting out products left and right from junk to quality hardware its only a matter of time! Its OS X/Mac vs Windows/PC all over again except it was Eric Schmidt who played Bill Gates and Google who played Microsoft this time around.

  4. Samsung shipped over 5 million. In Canada several cable TV companies gave them away free with a 3 year contract.

    They shipped many, they sold few.

    I know many fandroids who bought iPads in the same time period.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.