IDC: Apple Tablet Market Share Slips to 73% in Q4

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Apple’s share of the tablet marker slipped to 73% in the December quarter, down from 93% in the September quarter, according to market research firm IDC, while the market as a whole grew more than 200%. Samsung with it’s Galaxy Tab Android tablet was the only competitor of note, coming in a distant second with 17% of the market. IDC expects Apple to maintain 70-80% market share through 2011.

The vast majority of the tablet market is so far based in North America and Europe, accounting for 89% of global tablet sales, according to IDC. There are, however, “a number of smaller regional players,” most of them based in Asia.

“Strong holiday sales of media tablets were in line with IDC projections and strong consumer interest in the category while device vendors scrambled to offer products competitive with Apple’s iPad and now iPad 2,” Loren Loverde, vice president, Consumer Device Trackers for IDC, said in a statement. “Media Tablets are on pace to reach shipments of roughly 50 million units in 2011.”

Tablet markers sold 10.1 million devices in the December quarter, up from 4.5 million in the Septemer quarter.

IDC also noted that Apple’s introduction of its second generation iPad 2 is putting pressure on the market, where most of Apple’s would-be competitors haven’t even managed to ship a 1st generation product. IDC believes that this allow Apple to maintain its iPod-sized share of the tablet market through 2011.

The firm also noted that while Samsung had an aggressive push into the retailer channel with its 7” Galaxy Tab, the high price and Apple’s iPad “stifled consumer demand” for the device. The report deemed Motorola’s Xoom, “a worthy competitor in fucntion,” but said that its high price is also going to prevent Moto from gaining any traction with the device.

Indeed, IDC sees the function/price bar set by Apple to be an ongoing problem for any company thinking to enter the tablet market. Vertical markets and other niches may offer the biggest chance for anyone to make headway against Apple’s tablet.

“One differentiation path that some vendors are likely to take is to focus on specific market segments, such as commercial,” IDC wrote in its report. “While benefitting from unique product positioning, they are likely to address a smaller overall market and will need to be competitive with devices from Apple and others.”

We should also note that IDC is now officially describing what it is segmenting as the “media tablet” market. The firm is defining media tablets as devices with color displayer between 5” and 14” running “lightweight operatin systems” (iOS, Android) powered by ARM or x86 processors. Tablets running full operating systems like Windows 7 are x86 devices and are called tablet PCs in IDC’s industry breakdown.

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Yep. 73% and 99% of the cash. Gotta love Apple.

So, how much did Google make? 0%?

Lee Dronick

People were waiting for iPad 2


Some interesting numbers from a couple of standpoints.

If last year without the iPad, there were over 4 million tablets sold, that means non Apple iPad numbers actually dropped by over a million tablets in the 4th quarter(if my math is correct).

The other number that is interesting is that the Galaxy is supposed to have sold almost 2 million tablets for the 4th quarter. But there has been a lot of debate about the actual sell through which, according to some, has been very poor and that most of the Galaxys shipped in the 4th quarter was mostly for channel fill. A telling number for Samsung will be the number of Galaxys shipped this quarter. If it is a decidedly low number, than I would guess that most of the Samsung tabs have not been sold through.


Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Dream on Neal. Samsung would not be advertising the hell out of Galaxies if they weren’t selling reasonably well. Not 3 months later. Bryan had proposed a bet with me that I think was Apple maintaining 70% tablet market share through 2011. That’s very optimistic and assumes that nobody will find one or two things that the Honeycomb tablets do exceedingly well. It also assumes that people won’t want to use the same apps on their tablets as on their phones, and we all know how phone market share has split up over the past year.


Dream on Neal. Samsung would not be advertising the hell out of Galaxies if they weren?t selling reasonably well.


You just don’t know that. And if you read my comments carefully, I did not state that the Galaxy didn’t sell well. I can’t make a good educated guess as to how well they have sold. What I said was I need to see the numbers for this quarter to decide how well things have sold. If the number is low, then Samsung hasn’t had to refill the channel.

Here is an interesting column from Andy Inhatko that has an interesting perspective. I know you won’t like it because it has a very pro Apple point of view but at least he has hands on with many of the tablets that have been discussed

I think it is an interesting perspective. HP, if it can get a nice ecosystem built, according to Inhatko, may have a good chance at success. We will have to see what happens because my crystal ball has never worked real well.

Good luck to you.



I don’t think the Galaxy is selling well.  Samsung refuses to tell anyone how many Galaxy tabs are in the hands of actual people.  I have yet to see one out in public.  If they were proud of their sales, they would be telling the world about it.  And recently they went public with just how uncompetitive it is.  Just my opinion.


C’mon people. Saying anything positive about Apple or anything negative about their me-too competition (true or not) just rattles Bosco’s cage.

I just wonder what he focused his rage on before Android came out? Mac vs. Windows?  vs. Linux?  vs. Anything Not Apple?

Must be a lonely life in the basement…



Neal is right. The IDC report only counts shipments, not actual units sold. The numbers we see above aren’t going to really be relevant until next quarter when we see just how many of the tablets shipped ended up in consumers’ hands.

What’s really got me confused is why IDC insists on breaking PC tablets and media tablets into separate categories. The only difference, according to IDC, is that a PC tablet runs on an X86 processor. That seems arbitrary to me, but even taken on face value, what happens in 2012 (2013?) when Microsoft is expected to release its proposed Windows 8 for tablets with ARM processors? Would that be another new category? Is it a PC simply by virtual of having Windows?

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Well, here are the games, for Tegra 2 Android, not for iPad.

The main advantage cited for iPad is the apps. But there is a universe of content that would work well on tablet devices, and the race is to all that content available on various tablets. Flash, of course, is a very quick shortcut for oodles of it. The openness of the Android platform, and the lack of a fixed 30% toll booth, makes it more amenable to initiatives like Sony’s.


Blah blah android blah open blah blah flash blah 30% blah blah blah Apple doomed blah blah.


Sorry I couldn’t resist!!


Gartner Reports Suggests iPad Owned 100% of 2010 Tablet Sales; so much for Bosco’s theory that

“...Samsung would not be advertising the hell out of Galaxies if they weren?t selling reasonably well. Not 3 months later.”

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@BurmaYank: Somebody’s math is wrong. The fragmentation data you guys love so much has had a decent showing for Galaxy Tab since September.


Somebody?s math is wrong. The fragmentation data you guys love so much has had a decent showing for Galaxy Tab since September.

Maybe nobody’s math is very wrong:
Gartner issued a report pegging global spending on tablets by end users in 2010 was US$9.6 billion. Joe Wilcox noted that Apple reported sales of its iPad during the year of $9.566 billion, leaving roughly $33 million for devices like Samsung?s Galaxy Tab.”, so “...roughly $33 million for devices like Samsung?s Galaxy Tab” could reasonably be called “a decent showing for Galaxy Tab…” (although that $33 million obviously should be called less than chickenfeed compared to $9.566 billion).


Funny stuff.  I just want to know when Samsung will show some balls and actually come out with some end user sales figures.  Monthly volume.  Revenue.  Return Rate.  Something!!

In my opinion, their silence speaks wonders.  And, I have yet to see one in public.  Maybe I will see one on my upcoming Asia trip.  But I doubt it.


Somebody?s math is wrong. The fragmentation data you guys love so much has had a decent showing for Galaxy Tab since September.

@Bosco/Brad Hutchings: What fragmentation data is that which shows what you refer to?

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