IDC: Worldwide Tablet Shipments Set New Record

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Posted 4 years ago

January is always a busy month for Q4 reports, with both companies and analysts releasing their own results from the busiest time of the year just gone; therefore, the fourth quarter of 2012 has become somewhat of a recurring theme on this blog of late. Today’s stats come from research firm IDC, who has released preliminary data from its Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker.

Tablets are, of course, big business at the moment, so it should come as no surprise to anyone to hear that the IDC data shows Q4 2012 as another record one with 52.5 million units shipped worldwide. That puts Q4 shipments at a 74 percent increase over Q3 2012, which totaled 30.1 million.

Q4 naturally has an advantage over other quarters in that sales are helped greatly by the holiday shopping season, with consumers last year treated to lower priced devices and a wider range than at any time before.

“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,” said IDC’s tablet research director Tom Mainelli.

In terms of individual brands, Apple was the big winner, shipping 22.9 units during the quarter. These sales were given a boost by the latest iPad 4 and the iPad mini, but while shipments were up some 48.1 percent, rival tablets have closed the gap slightly in market share as Cupertino has seen its share drop to 43.6 percent from 46.4.

Leading the charge for the rival’s in Q4 2012 was Samsung, whose range of Android and Windows tablets shipped just short of 8 million units – a year-over-year increase of some 263 percent!

That performance gives Samsung a 15.1 percent market share, which is enough to keep them ahead of Amazon, who’s Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD tablets shipped 6 million, enough for 11.5 percent of the market.

With 3.1 million shipments, ASUS placed fourth on the list, the Taiwanese company’s 5.8 percent of the market helped greatly by Google’s Nexus tablets. Rounding of the top five is Barnes and Noble with 1 million shipments of its Nook, which represents a pretty significant 27.7 percent year-over-year drop.

With just less than 900,000 shipments, Microsoft missed out on a place in the top five; lack of full quarter availability would not have helped the cause, but IDC says that Microsoft may need to consider smaller devices and lower prices in order to compete.

“There is no question that Microsoft is in this tablet race to compete for the long haul. However, devices based upon its new Windows 8 and Windows RT operating systems failed to gain much ground during their launch quarter, and reaction to the company’s Surface with Windows RT tablet was muted at best,” said Ryan Reith, program manager, Mobile Device Trackers at IDC.

If you read yesterday’s post, you’d have to have to worry about the upcoming Surface Pro being the tablet to propel Microsoft into the top five.

– Anthony Carter

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