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Tablet shipments up 75 per cent from a year ago

by Mark Tyson on 1 February 2013, 11:00

Tags: iPad, Samsung (005935.KS), Surface, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), ASUSTeK (TPE:2357)

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IDC has just published its tablet sales findings for Q4 2012. The headlining fact was that sales of tablets worldwide “outpaced predictions” with a total of 52.5 million units sold worldwide in Q4 2012. That’s a year-on-year market growth of 75.3 per cent. While Apple continues to dominate the market, its lead has slipped in terms of share. At the same time arch-rival Samsung experienced a whopping 263 per cent year-on-year growth in tablet sales.

Research Director, Tablets, at IDC, Tom Mainelli said about the findings; “We expected a very strong fourth quarter, and the market didn't disappoint. 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.”

Apple sells a lot more but its share of the market is down.

Let’s look at the figures for the two major rivals one at a time. Starting with Apple, the company did keep hold of the majority of the tablet market. While this share slipped from 51.7 per cent in Q4 2011 to 43.6 per cent in Q4 2012 its shipments were up a satisfying 48.1 per cent because the tablet market has grown so strongly.

Analysts believe the “strong iPad mini launch” and iPad 4 becoming available helped Apple grow sales over the period.

Samsung sales and share both grow significantly

As you can see from the table above Samsung are still quite a long way behind Apple in both sales and share of the market. However the Korean electronics giant experienced stellar growth in 2012 and its tablet shipments are up over 260 per cent on the year before. Samsung offers a much wider range of tablet form factors and prices than Apple, this was especially true before the recent launch of Apple’s iPad Mini.

Scratching the Surface

You can also see in the table the market shares of Amazon, ASUS and Barnes & Noble. Where is Microsoft? According to some figures out recently Microsoft’s Surface has sold much less than the Barnes & Noble tablet’s one million figure. IDC Analyst Ryan Reith said “reaction to the company's Surface with Windows RT tablet was muted at best.” An article yesterday on ComputerWorld said the Microsoft Surface RT has sold “at most 750,000, with very high return rates”.

Tablet sales are quite a contrast to those in the PC market which saw 4th quarter shipments decline for the first time in 5 years.

HEXUS Forums :: 8 Comments

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Just got my Samsung Galaxy Tab2 10.1 today as it goes, extreemly impressed. TBH i was skeptical of tablets at first, especially with the iPad (its good but not £450 good…) but after using family and friends tabs i got converted so took the plunge as i got an awesome deal on the samsung tab (£220 with a 32GB sd card to boot!). Just super useful can now use it for uni and just sitting in the lounge instead of going up to boot up my big old gaming machine.
The jump in Samsung's market share presumably explains why they got singled out for a legal mugging by Apple! :(

Market is such that I think if you've got £300-400 to spend then you're pretty much spoilt for choice - with a lot of very well spec'd devices available. Likewise, who'd predict that we'd have so many good 7“ ones.

As to the Surface, with hindsight maybe Microsoft should have launched it ”at cost“ to get a foot hold in the market. Based on the comments here, most folks seem to be unimpressed and prefer to hold out for the Surface Pro. Certainly if there' was a £200-250 Surface then I'd be interested, but at twice that it's a no sale for me.

I've now got three tablets - a 7” that gets little use (it's too small), an original Asus Transformer, and now a Galaxy Note 10.1. Both of the big tablets have different capabilities, but it's the Note that's getting the “love” now - love that digitizer.
It's inevitable that iPad market share is going to fall. The iPad is a premium-priced product aimed at specific buyers, including those that prefer Apple products, like the design and UI ethos, want a fashion icon or are just early adopters. But the one thing ALL iPad buyers is a wilingness and ability to pay a premium price.

But that excludes a large proportion of the population, that either can't or won't pay iPad pricing, including me.

But, offer me a tablet like the Samsung Tab 10.1 at a net price of £120, which is what I paid, and you get my interest. Admittedly, that was a very good price, and reflects a net of VAT price, but even without the VAT refund, it's still only £145.

There is going to be a very large number of people that will pay £200 that won't consider buying at £400 -£700, so inevitably, as the product matures, the price point drifts down opening up accessibility to those in a market segment that Apple doesn't address.

Which is why Apple can see a simultaneous increase in sales and drop in market share.
Indeed there are some much better spec lower price units coming out now, the mid-lower end a year ago was very uninspiring
.. why is ipad still so expensive…