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May 2, 2013

Apple Still Top Tablet Maker, But Growth Slower than Rivals

Microsoft Enters Top Five For First Time

Apple remains the reigning tablet king, but its competition is gaining on the iPad maker.

New numbers from research firm IDC reveal Samsung, Asus and Amazon had far better year-over-year growth than did Apple.

While Apple enjoyed a solid 65.3 percent year-over-year growth rate, No. 2 tablet maker Samsung grew by 282.6 percent, third-place Asus grew 350 percent and fourth-place Amazon grew 157 percent.

Microsoft cracked the top five with a 1.8 percent market share — it did not have tablets to ship in the 2012 quarter.

Apple still controls nearly 40 percent of the tablet market, shipping 19.5 million tablets in the first quarter, but one year ago, in the first quarter of 2012, the iPad maker enjoyed a much larger market share (58 percent), even though it shipped only 11.8 million devices.

Samsung remains well back in second place with it current 17.9 percent market share, shipping 8.8 million tablets — but that is a significant increase from the same quarter one year ago: 2.3 million tablets shipped for an 11.3 percent market share.

Asus made the greatest leap, shipping a measly 600,000 tablets in the first quarter last year to sending out 2.7 million in the first quarter of 2013, going from a 3.1 percent market share to 5.5 percent chunk of the market.

Top Five Tablet Vendors, Shipments, and Market Share, First Quarter 2013 (Shipments in millions)

Vendor

1Q13 Unit Shipments

1Q13 Market Share

1Q12 Unit Shipments

1Q12 Market Share

Year-over-Year Growth

1. Apple

19.5

39.6%

11.8

58.1%

65.3%

2. Samsung

8.8

17.9%

2.3

11.3%

282.6%

3. ASUS

2.7

5.5%

0.6

3.1%

350.0%

4. Amazon.com Inc.

1.8

3.7%

0.7

3.6%

157.1%

5. Microsoft

0.9

1.8%

0.0

N/A

N/A

Others

15.5

31.5%

4.9

24.1%

216.3%

Total

49.2

100.0%

20.3

100.0%

142.4%

Source: IDC Worldwide Tablet Tracker, May 1, 2013.

Although Apple’s market share is shrinking in the wake of increased competition and a wider selection of cheaper tablets, IDC said Apple outperformed its most recent projections.

“The company, which historically has experienced a steep drop off in first quarter shipments (following strong holiday sales in the fourth quarter), saw some smoothing of that seasonality this year,” IDC said in a press release.

“Second-place seller Samsung also surpassed IDC expectations as the South Korean firm’s smaller-sized tablets gain a foothold in the market. Samsung’s ability to package and bundle its tablets with its popular Android Smartphones has enabled the company to “bring its tablet product line into new markets and channels.”

IDC said the robust performance of the two market leaders helped drive total shipments to 49.2 million devices for the quarter.

“Sustained demand for the iPad Mini and increasingly strong commercial shipments led to a better-than expected first quarter for Apple,” said IDC tablets research director Tom Mainelli. “In addition, by moving the iPad launch to the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple seems to have avoided the typical first-quarter slowdown that traditionally occurred when consumers held off buying in January and February in anticipation of a new product launch in March.”

Microsoft, a new player in the tablet market, shipped about 900,000 of its Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets, although the majority were Surface Pro units. The software giant, which shipped only to the U.S. and Canada in February, has said it plans to widen its regional distribution of both devices. Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, meanwhile have struggled to gain traction in the market.

“Recent rumors have circulated about the possibility of smaller screen Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets hitting the market,” said IDC Mobility Tracker program manager Ryan Reith.

“However, the notion that this will be the saving grace is flawed. Clearly the market is moving toward smart seven- to eight-inch devices, but Microsoft’s larger challenges center around consumer messaging and lower cost competition.If these challenges are addressed, along with the desired screen size variations, then we could see Microsoft make even further headway in 2013 and beyond.”

Top Tablet Operating Systems, Shipments, and Market Share, 2013 Q1 (Shipments in Millions)

Vendor

1Q13 Unit Shipments

1Q13 Market Share

1Q12 Unit Shipments

1Q12 Market Share

Year-over-Year Growth

Android

27.8

56.5%

8.0

39.4%

247.5%

iOS

19.5

39.6%

11.8

58.1%

65.3%

Windows

1.6

3.3%

0.2

1.0%

700.0%

Windows RT

0.2

0.4%

0.0

N/A

N/A

Others

0.1

0.2%

0.2

1.0%

-50.0%

Total

49.2

100.0%

20.3

100.0%

142.4%

Source: IDC Worldwide Tablet Tracker, May 1, 2013.

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