Samsung tablet sales leap 325% as Apple iPad market share falls

Figures from analyst house IDC suggest Android OS tablet sales are surging while the the Apple iPad’s hold on the market begins to loosen

Samsung’s tablet sales have grown by 325% in one year, according to new figures released today.

Analyst firm IDC reported the numbers in its worldwide quarterly tablet tracker report, which showed 5.1 million shipments in the third quarter of 2012, up from 1.2 million in the same period last year.

This translated to an 18.4% market share for the three months, compared to just 6.5% in the third quarter of 2011.

The data showed a general upward trend for Android tablet sales as IDC claimed shipments surged over the quarter, damaging the dominance of the market leader Apple and its iPad range.

The Cupertino company still shipped 14 million tablets – up from 11.1m in 2011 – but its market share of 50.4% was almost 10% down compared to last year and its growth of 26.1% was dwarfed by Samsung’s and Asus’s – which grew 242.9% thanks to its Transformer line-up.

IDC tablet tracker market share

  • Apple – 50.4%
  • Samsung – 18.4%
  • Amazon – 9%                         
  • Asus – 8.6%
  • Lenovo – 1.4%

Tom Mainelli, research director for tablets at IDC, claimed a lot of the damage was due to consumers waiting for the launch of the iPad Mini – Apple’s latest member of the iPad family with a 7.9 inch display – and figures would look better in the lead-up to Christmas, but admitted other factors had their part to play.

"After a very strong second quarter, Apple saw growth slow as both consumer and commercial (including education) shipments declined, and rumours of a forthcoming iPad mini began to heat up," he said. "We believe a sizeable percentage of consumers interested in buying an Apple tablet sat out the third quarter in anticipation of an announcement about the new iPad mini.”

“Now that the new mini, and a fourth-generation full-sized iPad, are both shipping we expect Apple to have a very good quarter. However, we believe the mini's relatively high $329 starting price leaves plenty of room for Android vendors to build upon the success they achieved in the third quarter."

Ryan Reith, programme manager of the tablet tracker report, said Samsung had taken advantage of an opportunity to grow over the quarter and its wide range of colours and sizes  made it the first time a competitor has reached this level of share since the launch of the first iPad.

"Competitors are turning up the pressure on market leader Apple"

Ryan Reith, programme manager of IDC's mobile device tracker

"Competitors are turning up the pressure on market leader Apple," he added. "With the recent introduction of a number of Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, consumers now have a third viable tablet platform from which to choose.”

“However, price points are critical in tablets, and Microsoft and its partners will have a tough time winning a share of consumer wallet with price points starting at $500."

Amazon also registered on the tracker with a significant 9% market share for a new entrant with its Kindle Fire range, with shipments hitting 2.5 million. 

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