Apple Gains Sequential Tablet Share, Loses Share Year-Over-Year

| Analysis

It's a mixed bag for Apple's iPad in a new report from IDC for 2013 March quarter tablet shipments. Apple gained share compared to the December quarter, but lost significant share compared to the March quarter of 2012. Samsung and "Others" took most of that share, though Microsoft is at last on the board with 1.8 percent of the market.

Total tablet shipments grew 142.4 percent year of year to 49.2 million units. IDC reported that Apple shipped 19.5 million iPads, a number that matches Apple's own reported numbers for the quarter, though Apple reports sales not shipments. Apple beats IDC's projection for the quarter of 18.7 million units.

"Sustained demand for the iPad mini and increasingly strong commercial shipments led to a better-than expected first quarter for Apple," Tom Mainelli, Research Director, Tablets at IDC, said in a statement.

He added, "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."

The chart below shows the huge increase in the number of units. Note the enormous increase in Samsung units shipped from 2.3 million to 8.8 million. The "Others" category also saw a sharp rise from 4.9 million to 15.5 million.

IDC Data

Chart by The Mac Observer from IDC data

While Apple saw 65 percent growth year-over-year, that wasn't enough to maintain share. In the year ago quarter, Apple had 58.1percent of the market, but the company claimed only 39.6 percent for Q1 2013, as shown in the chart below. Samsung's share increased from 11.3 percent to 17.9 percent. Amazon's share was essentially flat, while "Others" increased from just below a quarter of the market to 31.5 percent.

IDC Data

Chart by The Mac Observer from IDC data

IDC also offered up data for sequential comparison, where the situation is a little different. Compared to the December quarter of 2012, Apple gained 2.2 percent, while Samsung gained 7.1 percent. That's still an impressive feat for Samsung, but don't expect to see any mainstream headlines about Apple gaining sequential share iPad losing share over the year-ago quarter makes for more clicks.

IDC Data

Chart by The Mac Observer from IDC data

The chart above also shows that's Amazon's share tanked, that Asus grew a little, and that the "Others" category shrank, too. Microsoft remains irrelevant.



Interesting numbers. Apple significantly grew its numbers but its share declined either because the market growth is outpacing what Apple will grow at or its the same old same old conundrum with these numbers, shipped versus sold. Another complicating factor with the numbers. What is being considered a tablet? Are there different markets within the tablet space that would appear to show things differently for Apple? Should there be a breakdown of the tablet market based on price and features? Like in the computer market, Apple hasn’t had much market share in the low end part of the market where most of the world dwells but they make a profit on what they sell in the higher end of the market. Could the same be true for the tablet market as well?


Surely the news media (IDC, etc) releasing this data will follow up responsibly to see if shipments translate into actual retail sales. [/sarcasm]

Of course, “cheaper” tablets often put a big ding in one’s device budget once they get stuffed in a closet or drawer. An unused device becomes an “experience tax” when one later buys a quality product to replace it.  I’ve learned to buy quality products first and avoid paying for that experience, whether I buy furniture, electronics, or other goods.

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