Worldwide Tablet Market Surges Ahead on Strong First Quarter Sales, Says IDC

N MATEO, Calif., May 1, 2013 – Worldwide tablet shipments continue to surge, growing 142.4% year over year in the first quarter of 2013 (1Q13), according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDCWorldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. Tablet shipments totaled 49.2 million units in 1Q13, surpassing that of the entire first half of 2012. With growth fueled by increased market demand for smaller screen devices, tablets have shown no sign of slowing down.

Apple outperformed IDC’s most recent projections for the quarter, shipping 19.5 million units compared to a forecast of 18.7 million units. 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. 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. The strong performance of the two market leaders helped drive total shipments to an impressive 49.2 million units 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 Tom Mainelli, Research Director, Tablets at IDC. “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.”

ASUS managed to move into the number 3 vendor spot as it continued to see decent tablet shipment demand from the highly marketed Nexus 7 device. But, with Google’s I/O conference right around the corner and expectations of an imminent device refresh, the company will need to find a way to sustain its momentum. Amazon fell to the number 4 position, once again the victim of a highly seasonal product cycle.

Microsoft, which is a focal point for many in the tablet space, entered the top five for the first time as shipments of its Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets combined for a total of nearly 900,000 units. Many of those units were Surface Pro, which the company started shipping to the U.S. and Canada in February. Microsoft has said that it is actively widening its regional distribution of both Surface RT and Surface Pro products. Beyond the Surface products, Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets continued to struggle to gain traction in the market. Total combined Windows 8 and Windows RT shipments across all vendors reached 1.8 million units.

“Recent rumors have circulated about the possibility of smaller screen Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets hitting the market,” said Ryan Reith, Program Manager for 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.”

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.

 

iCharts

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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

Table Notes:

  • All data are preliminary and subject to change. Vendor shipments are branded shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.
  • Some IDC estimates prior to financial earnings reports.
  • Shipments include shipments to distribution channels or end users. OEM sales are counted under the vendor/brand under which they are sold.
  • IDC considers all LCD-based slate devices with screens between 7 and 16 inches as tablets, regardless of whether or not they include a removable keyboard (such as the Surface RT). Convertible devices with non-removable keyboards (such as Lenovo’s Yoga) are not counted as Tablets.

About IDC Trackers

IDC Tracker products provide accurate and timely market size, vendor share, and forecasts for hundreds of technology markets from more than 100 countries around the globe. Using proprietary tools and research processes, IDC’s Trackers are updated on a semiannual, quarterly, and monthly basis. Tracker results are delivered to clients in user-friendly excel deliverables and on-line query tools. The IDC Tracker Charts app allows users to view data charts from the most recent IDC Tracker products on theiriPhone and iPad.

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. For more than 49 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world’s leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting www.idc.com.

Companies Covered:

Amazon.com, Inc.ICHARTS INCApple Inc.MARKET SHARE MEIDA SHIVUKI LTDAMAZON.COM, INC.Google Inc.SamsungMicrosoft Corporation

Regions Covered:

United States

Topics Covered:

AndroidMedia tabletsMobilityOperating systems and subsystemsereadersiOSiPad

Contact

For more information, contact:

Tom Mainelli
tmainelli@idc.com
650-350-6455

Ryan Reith
rreith@idc.com
650-350-6242

Michael Shirer
press@idc.com
508-935-4200

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