Tablet sales skyrocketing

Allan Swann
January 31, 2013

The tablet market has absolutely taken off in the last year, with 75% more sold in the last quarter compared to 2011.

IDC’s Worldwide Tablet Tracker shows that a whopping 52.5 million tablets were sold in the last quarter, compared to just 29.9m a year ago.

“We expected a very strong fourth quarter, and the market didn’t disappoint,” said Tom Mainelli  IDC’s research director for Tablets.

“New product launches from the category’s top vendors, as well as new entrant Microsoft, led to a surge in consumer interest and very robust shipments totals during the holiday season. The record-breaking quarter stands in stark contrast to the PC market, which saw shipments decline during the quarter for the first time in more than five years.”

Apple’s iPad range remains dominant, shipping 22.9m units a 48.1% growth year on year. However, this has seen Apple’s share of the tablet market shrink for the second quarter in a row, as the company faces pressure from Samsung’s newly launched Nexus 10, Microsoft’s Surface tablet and heated competition in the 7-inch sector, which sees its iPad Mini up against retail giant Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD, Barnes and Noble’s Nook HD, Kobo’s Arc and Google’s excellent Nexus 7 – not to mention pressure from the emerging ‘phablet’ market (i.e. phone-tablet hybrids such as the Galaxy Note).

Samsung for one has benefited in a big way, it has grown by 263% in the last year (admittedly from a  minuscule  base of 2.2m units) to 7.9m units shipped, which puts it firmly in second place – leapfrogging ASUS and Amazon, who have relied on their 7-inchers. Amazon still managed to sell a very respectable 6m units, and ASUS 3.1m (a whopping growth rate of 402%).

ASUS in particular has benefited from the Google Nexus 7 build, its older tablets, such as the ASUS Transformer line, never gained much traction in the market.

Where does Microsoft’s Surface sit? IDC believes it has shipped just 900,000 units – less than Microsoft would’ve liked (It did only launch in November, however). While we admire the potential of the device, What Mobile’s review wasn’t entirely favourable, and the industry reaction has been lukewarm at best.

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