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February 1, 2013

2012: The Year of the Tablet

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Worldwide tablet shipments outpaced predictions to reach a record total of 52.5 million units worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2012, surpassing the previous three quarters, despite healthy sales.

The tablet market grew 75.3 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter — up from 29.9 million units in the same quarter in 2011 — and increased 74.3 percent from the previous quarter’s total of 30.1 million units, according to numbers by the International Data Corporation (IDC).

“We expected a very strong fourth quarter, and the market didn’t disappoint,” said IDC tablets research director Tom Mainelli. “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.

“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.”

Apple took first place with its iPad stealing 43.6 percent market share with 22.9 million units shipped. Samsung enjoyed a 263 percent year-on-year growth, shipping nearly eight million combined Android and Windows 8 tablets for 15.1 percent of the market. Amazon, with 11.5 percent of the market, also experienced a large increase in sales as its Kindle tablets gained traction.

Completing the top five are Asus with 5.8 percent and Barnes & Noble with 1.9 percent. Asus’ slice of the market has shrunk two percent while Barnes & Noble gained 1.2 percent with its new Nook tablets.

International Data Corporation table

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