The market analysts at IDC have weighed in on worldwide tablet sales and while Apple’s iPad is still the best-seller, competitors like Samsung and Amazon lopped off a bunch of market share in 2012. More important, perhaps: The iPad now accounts for well under 50 percent of all tablet sales.
The big takeaway here, however, is that Android tablet sales now collectively outsell the iPad, the device that started this new market.
According to IDC, the iPad fell to just 43.6 percent market share by the end of 2012, down from about 52 percent earlier, thanks to sharply rising sales of Samsung, Amazon, and ASUS devices. Apple’s iPad sales actually grew 48 percent in the fourth quarter, compared to the same quarter a year earlier, with the firm delivering 22.9 million iPads to customers.
But sales of Samsung and ASUS tablets, in particular, grew much faster. Samsung, the number two tablet maker, sold 7.9 million tablets in Q4 2012, a jump of 263 percent. And ASUS, the number three tablet maker with 3.1 million units sold, saw sales jump 403 percent. Apple can’t claim it has outpaced the sales growth of the competition in this market, as routinely claims of Macs compared to other PCs.
Amazon was the number three tablet maker: It sold 6 million Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD tablets in the quarter, IDC claims, up 27 percent year-over-year.
You may be wondering where Microsoft figures into this tally. They don’t: Microsoft’s Surface tablets are considered PCs and are still measured against PC sales. These tablets are so-called “media tablets” and include smaller, ~7-inch devices that are used only for media consumption as well as “full-sized” tablets that typically sport 10-inch screens.