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Android trounces Apple in Q1 2013 tablet shipments

May 3, 2013 — by Rick Lehrbaum 698 views

Tablet shipments continued to “surge” in the first quarter of 2013, growing 142 percent year-over-year, according to market analyst IDC’s latest “Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker” report. Additionally, Android vendors had an extremely strong first quarter, shipping 27.8 million tablets versus Apple’s 19.5 million iPad and iPad mini devices.

More tablets shipped during the first quarter of this year than during the entire first half of 2012, with most of the growth “fueled by increased market demand for smaller screen devices,” largely based on a strong performance of Apple and Samsung, notes IDC.

As seen in IDC’s data tabulated below, Android tablet shipments grew 248 percent year-over-year during the first quarter of this year, while iPad shipments swelled by just 65 percent.


Q1 2013 vs Q1 2012 Tablet Shipments by OS
(source: IDC)

Vendor 1Q13 units
1Q13 share 1Q12 units
1Q12 share year/year growth
Android 27.8 56% 8 39% 248%
iOS 19.5 40% 11.8 58% 65%
Windows 1.6 3% 0.2 1% 700%
Windows RT 0.2 0.4% 0 N/A N/A
Others 0.1 0.2% 0.2 1% −50%
Total 49.2 100% 20.3 100% 142%

In counting tablets, IDC includes “all LCD-based slate devices” with screen sizes between 7 to 16 inches, whether or not they include a removable keyboard. However, devices with non-removable keyboards, such as the Lenovo Yoga, are excluded.

Vendor data

Apple’s Q1 shipments were actually somewhat greater than IDC had expected. The company “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,” says IDC’s report. Meanwhile, “number two vendor Samsung also performed above expectations and managed to grow its shipments over the fourth quarter as more of the company’s smaller-sized tablets began to gain traction in the market. Samsung has also used its recent Android smartphone growth to help bring its tablet product line into new markets and channels, leveraging the opportunity to package and bundle.”

IDC’s summary data for Q1 2013 vs Q1 2012 tablet shipments by vendor appears below.

Q1 2013 vs Q1 2012 Tablet Shipments by Vendor
(source: IDC)

Vendor 1Q13 units
1Q13 share 1Q12 units
1Q12 share yr/yr growth
Apple 19.5 40% 11.8 58% 65%
Samsung 8.8 18% 2.3 11% 283%
ASUS 2.7 6% 0.6 3% 350%
Amazon 1.8 4% 0.7 4% 157%
Microsoft 0.9 2% 0 N/A N/A
Others 15.5 32% 4.9 24% 216%
Total 49.2 100% 20.3 100% 142%

Continued demand for Apple’s iPad mini combined with “increasingly strong commercial shipments” contributed to Apple’s strong first quarter, according to Tom Mainelli, IDC’s research director for tablets. “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,” says Mainelli.

ASUS moved into the number 3 position thanks to strong Nexus 7 demand, while Amazon dropped to number 4 due to cyclical seasonal variations, suggests IDC. Meanwhile, Microsoft became one of the top five tablet vendors for the first time, with Surface RT and Surface Pro tablet shipments totaling nearly 900,000 units and Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets adding another 900,000.

“Recent rumors have circulated about the possibility of smaller screen Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets hitting the market,” adds Ryan Reith, program manager of IDC’s Mobility Tracker program. “However, the notion that this will be the saving grace is flawed. Clearly the market is moving toward smart 7-8 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.”

The interactive chart below shows IDC’s tablet shipments data from the top five vendors (Apple, Samsung, ASUS, Amazon, Microsoft) for the past four quarters.


For further information regarding IDC’s Worldwide Tablet Tracker service, visit IDC’s website.

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