Despite a record holiday quarter for iPad sales and a strong 2012 for the popular Apple tablet, the market-leading product saw its global market share dip in Q4 of last year.
Worldwide tablet shipments outpaced predictions reaching a record total of 52.5 million units worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2012, IDC says in response to the release of preliminary data from the International Data Corporation Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker.
Impressively, the tablet market grew 75.3% year over year in 4Q12 (up from 29.9 million units in 4Q11) and increased 74.3% from the previous quarter’s total of 30.1 million units.
Apple’s iPad once again led the market, and the firm’s shipment total of 22.9 million units was exactly in line with IDC’s forecast for the period. A strong iPad mini launch, plus availability of the fourth generation full-sized iPad, led to solid 48.1% shipment growth over the same quarter last year. However, strong competition in the market led to Apple’s market share declining for a second quarter in a row (down to 43.6% from 46.4% last quarter).
Talk of Apple’s weakened tablet market share will likely continue this year as major new competitors enter the field.
Microsoft, for example, entered the market during Q4 with its Surface with Windows RT tablet, but IDC isn’t seeing any reason for iOS and Android fans to sweat just yet.
“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,” says Ryan Reith, program manager for Mobile Device Trackers at IDC. “We believe that Microsoft and its partners need to quickly adjust to the market realities of smaller screens and lower prices. In the long run, consumers may grow to believe that high-end computing tablets with desktop operating systems are worth a higher premium than other tablets, but until then ASPs on Windows 8 and Windows RT devices need to come down to drive higher volumes.”
To review the IDC report in its entirety, click here.