Apple’s share of tablet shipments surges

According to the latest numbers from market research firm IDC, Android-based tablets had a rough first quarter of 2012. The whole market was down, which is to be expected given how many tablets ended up in folks’ Christmas stockings. 17.4 million tablets were shipped during Q1, which is a 38% decrease over the holiday quarter of 2011. That’s more of a drop than IDC expected, although it points out that shipments more than doubled compared to the first quarter of last year.

Apple’s slice of first-quarter shipments rose sharply, jumping from 55% for the holiday quarter to 68% in Q1. The new iPad and the accompanying price cut to the iPad 2 likely contributed that surge. We didn’t really see any new Android tablets enter the market or benefit from substantial discounts during the same period.

One of the most interesting revelations in IDC’s press release is the decline of Amazon’s Kindle. The device was hugely popular with holiday shoppers, making up 16.8% of the market in Q4’11. However, its slice of the pie plummeted to just 4% the following quarter. That dropped Amazon from second to third place in overall tablet shipments, allowing Samsung to regain the number-two spot. Asus didn’t make the top five.

IDC expects a strong rebound for Android tablets in the second quarter, although research director Tom Mainelli notes that device makers will have to "offer their products at notably lower price points" to compete with Apple. DigiTimes is also enthusiastic about Android’s chances, going to far as to predict that Android tablets will dominate the market in the third quarter. That sounds a little optimistic to me, but a number of new Android tablets are on the way, including a 10" Kindle and a 7" Asus tablet that should cost around $200. It will be interesting to see whether that 7-incher, coupled with the new Transformer Pad 300 and the upcoming Infinity Series, can push Asus up the rankings.

Comments closed
    • trackerben
    • 8 years ago

    The tablet revolution is all but finished.

    In China in just the last few months, I saw many people use iPads at all sorts of transient, public settings – at attractions, restaurants, lines at transport stops and airports, subways, elevators and other movers. This kind of behavior which only early tablet adopters and iOS and android smartphone users would exhibit is now commonplace in the most densely populated, highly connected cities like Hong Kong. Of course, cafes and trendy restaurants are still populated by fashionable girls and their friends chatting over their iPads, but this is no longer the most visible example in the wild.

    The tablet revolution is done because iPads and their like are now in the mainstream.

    With base 1Mbps wireless available in Hong Kong, an iPad tends to become the personal go-to for looking up anything. I ditched the many freely given excellent maps and relegated my old Nokias to spares. Every major mainland and most HK utilities and consumer firms had iOS apps for sales and service. Curiously, there were hardly any Samsung Notes being sported around incongrously. I guess their funny viral campaign is over now that the more reasonable Nexus is available.

    • beck2448
    • 8 years ago

    This is why analysts are constantly “unexpectedly surprised”. They tend to think linear while there are so many other variables.

    • link626
    • 8 years ago

    not surprising.
    people either pony up the premium for ipad, or go cheap with the fire.

    at $350, the other brands are too close to ipad2 price, so no one wants those.
    Acer and asus just can’t command that kind of price.

    most people don’t care about specs. they care more about brand appeal.

      • internetsandman
      • 8 years ago

      It’s not about specs, it’s about the software and general usability. iOS and iPad were made for one another and they work very smoothly together. High end android tablets might have superior hardware, and more customizability, but for the majority of users who want a simple and easily understandable experience, they probably won’t go for them, partly because android can be a bit of a chore to set up for those who aren’t tech savvy. Almost every tablet maker has the style factor, but Apple made a product that just works, and that’s where they set themselves apart from the competition (not saying androids don’t work, just saying they’re a bit more complicated for your average joe), and by extension, that’s how they get their brand recognized, through a very positive user experience.

      TL;DR: people will go for a product that they know works and that they can rely on, rather than the product that looks the best or the flashiest (on paper or in person)

      • Deanjo
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]most people don't care about specs. they care more about brand appeal.[/quote<] No, they care more about picking a device that they know will do what they want it to do. They know Apple will be around in a few years, they know there is a large selection of apps for it, they know other people who have one and love it, they know that they can pick up one pretty much everywhere, they know that if they need an accessory for it that they can get it, they know that it will be supported fora while.... It is more that they know that Apple has a huge proven successful ecosystem that they can depend on for a long time.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 8 years ago

        This is part of it, but Apple is definitely a status symbol for many as well.

    • WaltC
    • 8 years ago

    The important thing here is that the tablet market as a whole contracted 38% from last quarter. That’s exactly why Apple’s share of the dwindling market grew proportionally. What it means is that except for the usual suspects–the Apple faithful–who will buy anything with an Apple logo on it, apparently–the rest of the market seems to be losing interest in tablets altogether. I think the less expensive e-readers are going to wind up as the form-factor of choice and that “the tablet” as personified by iPad is already on the way out. It’s too expensive for an optional, supplemental device, and it won’t replace other devices like desktop computers or laptops, most especially MacBooks.

    This would have been good news for Apple, though, had the market grown 38% (or even 20%) and Apple’s share of a growing tablet market had increased by the same percentages. But as it is, all it shows is a progressively smaller pie for everyone. Interest in tablets appears to be waning, but we’ll not know that for sure until a couple more quarters of negative growth have occurred. I don’t think there is any doubt but that the “tablet” as envisioned by the iPad is a short-lived fad and now that people think they’ve seen the show they’re already off and looking at other product sectors.

      • Decelerate
      • 8 years ago

      The market contracted following the holiday season and you think the fad is over?

      Wow.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 8 years ago

    This also has the launch month for the new iPad in it. I think you’ll see Android stuff rebound a bit because I think at least some of this is related to people dropping their 1st and 2nd gen iPads like they’re hot. There’s a ton of them used on eBay and has been since mid-March. Even though the 3rd gen iPad was only on sale for 2 weeks (and preorders around 10 days beforehand) of that quarter, I think it’ smore significant.

    • jdaven
    • 8 years ago

    “…Mainelli notes that device makers will have to “offer their products at notably lower price points” to compete with Apple.”

    Say goodbye to any hope of high margins tablet market vendors. All the profits are belong to Apple.

      • internetsandman
      • 8 years ago

      Who cares how big or small the profits are for the companies as long as:

      A. They have some profit to speak of
      B. They’re making quality products at fair and/or competitive price points

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        it matters. and if you understand how economics work, your realize why it matters. the situation where apple and samsung make 99% of smartphone profits is a problem. it kills competition.

        [url<]http://www.neowin.net/news/apple-samsung-claim-99-percent-of-smartphone-profits[/url<]

    • blastdoor
    • 8 years ago

    When Amazon came out with higher profit margins that expected I wondered if that meant that the Fire had tanked (since the Fire is a loss-leader for content). Looks like it did.

    Looks like Apple will dominate tablets the same way they dominated music players.

    Will the iPhone be next?

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 8 years ago

      At no point did anyone actually know for a fact that Amazon loses money on the Kindle Fire. Some people who took one apart just guessed it was almost exactly the same cost as what they were selling it for.

      And that was half a year ago, before they started spamming them out by the millions.

      Look at all the other $200-ish tablets that are going to be coming out. They were just slightly ahead of the game.

        • Deanjo
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]At no point did anyone actually know for a fact that Amazon loses money on the Kindle Fire. Some people who took one apart just guessed it was almost exactly the same cost as what they were selling it for.[/quote<] Same thing goes for any of those break down cost articles but it doesn't stop apple haters quoting them as proof when the go on their "Apples price gouging" rants.

      • zdw
      • 8 years ago

      When it’s available at a provider, the iPhone outsells all other Android phones – Android is leading only where the iPhone isn’t available yet:

      [url<]http://techcrunch.com/2012/05/02/winning-in-neither-name-nor-spirit/[/url<] Another data point - Amazon's ePaper tablets supposedly have tanked in sales after the Fire, per their suppliers revenue reports: [url<]http://seekingalpha.com/article/557151-kindle-sales-plunge-made-amazon-com-s-gross-margin-look-better?source=yahoo[/url<]

        • blastdoor
        • 8 years ago

        I think that techcrunch story only had info about US carriers, but I agree it’s a very interesting bit of data since the US often leads the rest of the world in these kind of trends.

        More broadly, I think Android’s failure in tablets is very bad for Android overall. The future is about owning multiple devices that work well together, not owning single devices (or multiple devices that interoperate poorly).

        Looking at the three main platforms out there today (Apple, Microsoft, and Google) we see this:

        1. Google has a strong competitive position in phones and cloud services, but has huge gaping holes in tablets and PCs.

        2. Apple has a strong competitive position in phones, a dominant (and growing) position in tablets, a strong position in cloud services, and a weak (but strengthening) position in PCs.

        3. Microsoft has a weak position in phones, a dominant (but deteriorating) position in PCs, a weak position (but with some potential for improvement) in tablets, and a strong position in cloud services.

        Comparing the entireties of these platforms, I would say the real competition is between Apple and Microsoft, and that Google is a sideshow.

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 8 years ago

          Google phones work great with Windows and Linux however.

          The future is in different systems working together not being locked into a single vendor.

        • blastdoor
        • 8 years ago

        One other thought — it will be very interesting to see what happens when the iPhone comes out on China Mobile. The fact that the iPhone is doing so well in China without being on the largest carrier is really striking.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This