IDC: Apple’s share of worldwide tablet market drops under 40%

Worldwide tablet shipments continue to surge, growing 142.4% year over year in the first quarter of 2013 (1Q13), according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. Tablet shipments totaled 49.2 million units in 1Q13, surpassing that of the entire first half of 2012. With growth fueled by increased market demand for smaller screen devices, tablets have shown no sign of slowing down.

Apple outperformed IDC’s most recent projections for the quarter, shipping 19.5 million units compared to a forecast of 18.7 million units. The company, which historically has experienced a steep drop off in first quarter shipments (following strong holiday sales in the fourth quarter), saw some smoothing of that seasonality this year. Number two vendor Samsung also performed above expectations and managed to grow its shipments over the fourth quarter as more of the company’s smaller-sized tablets began to gain traction in the market. Samsung has also used its recent Android smartphone growth to help bring its tablet product line into new markets and channels, leveraging the opportunity to package and bundle. The strong performance of the two market leaders helped drive total shipments to an impressive 49.2 million units for the quarter.

“Sustained demand for the iPad mini and increasingly strong commercial shipments led to a better-than expected first quarter for Apple,” said Tom Mainelli, Research Director, Tablets at IDC, in a statement. “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.”

ASUS managed to move into the number 3 vendor spot as it continued to see decent tablet shipment demand from the highly marketed Nexus 7 device. But, with Google’s I/O conference right around the corner and expectations of an imminent device refresh, the company will need to find a way to sustain its momentum. Amazon fell to the number 4 position, once again the victim of a highly seasonal product cycle.

Microsoft, which is a focal point for many in the tablet space, entered the top five for the first time as shipments of its Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets combined for a total of nearly 900,000 units. Many of those units were Surface Pro, which the company started shipping to the U.S. and Canada in February. Microsoft has said that it is actively widening its regional distribution of both Surface RT and Surface Pro products. Beyond the Surface products, Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets continued to struggle to gain traction in the market. Total combined Windows 8 and Windows RT shipments across all vendors reached 1.8 million units.

“Recent rumors have circulated about the possibility of smaller screen Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets hitting the market,” said Ryan Reith, Program Manager for IDC’s Mobility Tracker program, in a statement. “However, the notion that this will be the saving grace is flawed. Clearly the market is moving toward smart 7-8 inch devices, but Microsoft’s larger challenges center around consumer messaging and lower cost competition. 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.”

Top Five Tablet Vendors, Shipments, and Market Share, First Quarter 2013 (Shipments in millions)
IDC: Top Five Tablet Vendors, Shipments, and Market Share, First Quarter 2013 (Shipments in millions)
All data are preliminary and subject to change. Vendor shipments are branded shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors. Some IDC estimates prior to financial earnings reports. Shipments include shipments to distribution channels or end users. OEM sales are counted under the vendor/brand under which they are sold. IDC considers all LCD-based slate devices with screens between 7 and 16 inches as tablets, regardless of whether or not they include a removable keyboard (such as the Surface RT). Convertible devices with non-removable keyboards (such as Lenovo’s Yoga) are not counted as Tablets.

Top Tablet Operating Systems, Shipments, and Market Share, 2013 Q1 (Shipments in Millions)
IDC: Top Tablet Operating Systems, Shipments, and Market Share, 2013 Q1 (Shipments in Millions)
All data are preliminary and subject to change. Vendor shipments are branded shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors. Some IDC estimates prior to financial earnings reports. Shipments include shipments to distribution channels or end users. OEM sales are counted under the vendor/brand under which they are sold. IDC considers all LCD-based slate devices with screens between 7 and 16 inches as tablets, regardless of whether or not they include a removable keyboard (such as the Surface RT). Convertible devices with non-removable keyboards (such as Lenovo’s Yoga) are not counted as Tablets.

Source: International Data Corporation

MacDailyNews Take: If you think this is “bad news for Apple,” please see the related articles below.

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43 Comments

  1. 31.5% for “Others” tablets? What is that, obscure no-name China brands like Zeedpad & FlyTouch, and craptastic brands like “Coby?” Man so there IS a sucker born every minute and in China every second.

    1. PB71, You are so right on about that chart. There a lot of “me too” companies in china that copy and ship tons of “stuff”. Much of it is used in china (cause its cheap) or ends up in online stores selling “a really great tablet with spec, spec. spec” and some real odd name.

      How many times do we see Apple hardware being sold as NEW in on-line stores?
      Just a thought.

    2. It’s all about ecosystem, because without Apps your new tablet is a brick.

      Because of fragmentation you have look at vendors, not OS, to determine share. All iPads are compatible with the iTunes ecosystem. The largest Android manufacturer is Samsung, but not all Samsung tablets are compatible with each other, resulting in fewer Samsung tablets for market share comparisons.

      Accepting Samsung unit sales numbers (Samsung does not release this data, meaning that it is a guesstimate), then iPad share is conservatively 69% of 28.3 million units.

      Funny how that corresponds with data usage numbers, isn’t it? http://tinyurl.com/data-usage-share

      Makes you wonder what all those wannabe’s are used for, could it be they were purchased, then not used, once it was discovered they really weren’t “just like an iPad”?

    3. Most of the 31.5% would be your Chinese knockoffs and your Kindles and other book readers, your feature tablets.

      They would not be your computer tablets, your iPads. Calling a Samsung tablet a computer tablet would be a big mistake.

  2. When competitors to your 3 year old winner flood the market with wacky low cost competition, you KNOW you are winning the battle.

    Consumers who bite once and get bitten and have to toss the el-cheapo-pad then come back to your product.

  3. Again, this is units shipped, not sold.

    If you assume Apple sold 100% of units shipped and the others sold 80-90% of units shipped, then % of market share shifts quite a bit in Apple’s favor.

  4. IDC deserves no attention for this nonsense. Equating “shipments” with “market share” is a fallacy. Only sales to actual consumers should be counted.

    1. The market is made up of pre-sold items available for consumers to purchase, it has nothing to do with sales. This is why guesstimates on shipments is used as a metric to determine market share.

      Shipment number are a very valid statistic as it demonstrates how many units you made available for purchase, but it says nothing of how many we’re actually sold. And I suspect this is the reason Apple is the only company that reports sales numbers along with shipment numbers; none of the other companies have sales that reflect their share of the market.

    1. Here are some sales numbers. The table above says Samsung shipped 2.3M tablets in 1Q12 yet in court they revealed they only sold 1.2M tablets through the end of 2Q12. Looks different to me.

      http://www.macrumors.com/2012/08/10/apple-and-samsung-reveal-u-s-mobile-device-sales-in-court-case/

      Perhaps most interesting are Samsung’s tablet sales numbers, which include a total of just 1.4 million units sold through the second quarter of 2012 for the three devices included in the lawsuit: the original Galaxy Tab, the Galaxy Tab 10.1, and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE. This is compared to a total of 34 million iPads sold in the United States since its original launch back in 2010.

      The other thing I dislike about these tables is the way they lump all tablets together as if they were equivalent. It’s like talking about diamond earrings but including sales of cubic zirconia.

  5. Note the 2 points only. Without other points, you can’t tell if Samsung is slowing or accelerating in a very young market. So, has Samsung’s tablet shipments flattened, tanked or increased. Consider, now that the iPad mini is shipping, how much will the new size option increase the 65.3% iOS growth rate. Want a bet that Amazon’s little e-readers are tanking now. Is this just another shot at Apple by sharing only what they want to use to paint the story they want.

    Also, no discussion about next year. Their growth will not be up in the hundreds. And when China Mobile signs with Apple, where is their 67% of the Chinese mobile market’s loyalty? Is it Google anything or South Korea anything? Or is the status symbol in China the device with the Apple logo on it?

  6. Let me start by saying I hate Windows and I hate Android. And then let me offer my totally unbiased opinion. I don’t know anything about Windows tablets because quite frankly Windows 8 is total shit so that takes Windows out of the reckoning.

    As for Android, It’s less shitty than Windows but on a level of shittiness if Windows scores a 10/10, Android scores an 8.5/10. It’s that shitty.

    That being said, I have two iPads and within my immediate family there are an additional 5 iPads, one for my dad and the others are owned by other family members. Even my mom who is as untech savvy as it gets uses my dad’s iPad occasionally. And that’s a good sign because she stays away from computers like she’s allergic to them.

    When they call me up for tech support, the first thing I tell them is if you’re using Android, you’re on your own. And so one by one I have converted them from the dark side to the light side.

    Using my family as an unbiased example, we own a total of 7 iPads. My friends and work colleagues all use iPads. I can account for another 30 iPads just on that score alone. A friend used to use an Android tablet until I converted him to an iPad.

    I don’t see a single Android tablet anywhere around me. In the final analysis IDC’s figures are total fiction. As much fiction as a Stephen King novel – it’s only use is to frighten the bejesus out of clueless analysts.

    1. So would you still dock your 7.9″ iPad Mini in Minka Kelly bay if you found out she used Android? I would just make her put a paper bag over the device.

  7. Other than my brother, who says “white” when I say “black,” I know of no one who uses Android. My brother went for a Zune, an HTC, then a Samsung Galaxy for no other reason than to avoid Apple. I know a few Kindle lovers- does that count? My philosophy is the same- need help or advice? You’re on your own.

  8. I see Kindles, but have never seen a Samsung tablet in the wild. I have seen stacks of them at Costco, and never have seen anyone actually buy one.

    1. Indeed. I’ve seen one or two Sonys as well as the smattering of Kindles, but otherwise it’s all iPads. Where are these other tablets selling, or are their owners too embarrassed to bring them out in public?

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