Apple has always been a dominating player in tablet space, but this time, the company is facing a fierce competition in the market from Android tablet vendors such as Samsung and Amazon. Apple saw a sharp decline in its tablet market share in Q4 2012. However, the company still led the race with the record-sales of 22.9 million iPads during the last quarter ending December 31, 2012. According to a IDC’s recent report, 52.5 million tablets were sold in Q4 2012 worldwide, up from 29.9 million a year ago in the same quarter.
More importantly, sales of tablets grew up 75.3% Y/Y and 74.3% quarter-over-quarter in Q4 2012. However, during Q3 2012, just 30.1 million tablets were sold by vendors. The sales of the devices surged in the last quarter due to strong demand during the holiday season. With lower average selling prices and wider range of product availability, tablet market witnessed all time highest shipments in Q4 2012.
The new products launched from variant vendors, such as new entrants like Microsoft, succeeded to draw consumers’ interest, and also drove robust shipments during the last holiday season. Apple launched its two majors–iPad Mini and the fourth generation iPad–during the last quarter, which boosted overall shipments of iPads. The company recorded 48.1% Y/Y growth in terms of tablet shipments in Q4 last year. However, Apple’s tablet market share slipped to 43.6% in the last quarter, from 46.4% in Q3 2012 . On the other side, the number two player in tablet segment–Samsung–continued to nip the Cupertino-based Company’s market share. The South Korean mobile handset company enjoyed 263% Y/Y growth in the quarter, and shipped 8 million tablets (combined Android and Windows 8 Tablets) during the quarter.
In Q4 2012, Samsung succeeded to grab 15.1% of overall tablet market share, up from 7.3% a year ago in the same quarter. Other competing vendors such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble also saw a rise in their market share during the quarter. Amazon shipped 6 million tablets in Q4 2012; it grabbed 11.5% of overall tablet market share in Q4 2012, up from 8.3% a year ago. Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble shipped almost a million units in Q4 2012, increasing share up to 1.9% from 0.7% in the prior quarter.
Microsoft’s new Surface with Windows RT tablet failed to impress more number of users across the world, and it could ship just 900,000 units of Surface RT tablet during the last quarter ending December 2012. At present, Microsoft and its hardware partners are offering very expensive tablets. They really need to manufacture low-priced tablets to compete with Android vendors. The consumers are still reluctant to own desktop operating system-based expensive tablets.
The biggest disappointment came due to poor shipments of Asus tablets. The company managed to hold the number four spot in Q4 2012; its tablet market share in Q4 2012 dropped to 5.8%, from 7.8% in Q3 2012. However, the company recorded 400% Y/Y growth in terms of tablet shipments in Q4 2012.