Technology

More than 50 million tablets shipped over holiday season

February 01, 2013

NEW YORK, Feb 1 — The final quarter of 2012 set a new record for tablet shipments, and while the iPad is still king, its competitors are making huge inroads into the market Apple created three years ago.

A total of 51.1 million tablets were shipped around the world in the final quarter of 2012 as the demand for the devices continues to grow. — Picture courtesy of shutterstock.comA total of 51.1 million tablets were shipped around the world in the final quarter of 2012 as the demand for the devices continues to grow. — Picture courtesy of shutterstock.comThe latest data from IDC claims that a massive 51.1 million of the devices — up 48.1 per cent on Q4 2011 — shipped globally and that an equally massive 22.9 million were Apple iPads. 

However, the figures also show that as the demand for tablets is clearly growing, so is the competition. 

Samsung is now comfortably the second most popular tablet brand with shipments totalling 7.9 million, 1.9 million more than Amazon with its Kindle Fire devices in third place. Asus, maker of Google’s Nexus 7 tablet achieved shipments of 3.1 million, making it the fifth most popular device maker, while Barnes & Noble rounded out the top five with shipments of one million.

“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 research director of Tablets, Tom Mainelli of the figures. 

“The record-breaking quarter stands in stark contrast to the PC market, which saw shipments decline during the quarter for the first time in more than five years.”

However, this surge in demand wasn’t sufficient to establish Microsoft in the top five. It shipped fewer than 900,000 Windows Surface RT tablets in the quarter and IDC programme director for Mobile Device Trackers Ryan Reith believes the lower numbers are in part due to Microsoft’s strategy of initially only offering the device for sale via its website and its North American retail stores. 

“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,” he said.

And while Apple may have shipped almost 50 per cent more tablets than at the same time in 2011, this increase did not translate into a bigger market share. The company is slowly ceding ground to competitors in the market and product category that it invented three years ago. Apple now has a 43.6 per cent global market share compared with a 51.7 per cent share 12 months ago. — AFP-Relaxnews