Climbing the table
Market researcher IDC has released its latest figures for the global tablet market in Q2, and they reveal that total shipments of the new computing form factor were 303.8 percent higher than the same period a year ago and 88.9 percent up on the the previous quarter.
While a quadrupling of sales, year-on-year, is very eye-catching, it's also not too big a surprise given that the first iPad only went on sale in Q2 2010. The more intriguing figure is the near doubling of sales between Q1 and Q2, which indicates healthy demand for both the iPad 2 and the Honeycomb generation of Android tablets.
IDC says Apple shifted 9.3 million iPads in the quarter, which represented 68.3 percent of the total market. That puts the total figure at 13.6 million tablets shipped in the quarter. It looks like RIM's PlayBook had done a bit better than many feared; grabbing a 4.9 percent market share (~680,000 units), and that it took that share from Android, which slipped down to a 26.8 percent share.
Q3's figures will be interesting thanks to the great HP TouchPad fire-sale. IDC reckons the TouchPad will claim almost five percent market share in Q3, a figure that, tragically, HP would have been delighted with at full price. It's thought that Android once more will be the platform to surrender this market share, but that it will recover in Q4.
"Media tablet shipments grew at a solid pace in the second quarter, led by continued strong demand for Apple products," said Tom Mainelli, research director at IDC. "We expect shipment totals to continue to grow in the third and fourth quarter, as additional vendors introduce more price-competitive Android products into the market and Apple works to maintain its dominance in the category."
"Apple's iOS share will continue to lead by more than 40 percentage points over Google's Android for the remainder of the year, but we expect this gap to decrease substantially by the end of our forecast in 2015," said Jennifer Song, research analyst.
Sales of e-readers don't seem to be too badly affected by the popularity of the tablet. The total figure was 5.4 million units, which was up 167 percent on the same quarter a year ago. Amazon has over half of the market, but the Barnes & Noble Nook has a 21.2 percent share, which implies the vast majority of e-reader sales happen in the US.
"We expect major vendors to offer their current-generation black-and-white e-readers for less than $100 by the holidays," said Mainelli. "We're also expecting Amazon's much-rumoured, colour LCD-based device to ship later this year. Because we expect it to run a customized version of Android that ties its use to Amazon's content services, we expect the device to more closely resemble Barnes & Noble's Colour Nook than Apple's iPad 2. As a result, our current plan is to count it as an e-reader, and that will also help drive shipment numbers."