Framingham, Mass.—Apple’s share of worldwide tablet shipments slipped sequentially and year-over-year in the third quarter because of rising competition and consumers who postponed Apple purchases while waiting for the company to launch its latest iPads, IDC said.
Apple’s unit share fell in the third quarter of this year to 50.4 percent from the second quarter’s 65.5 percent and from the year ago’s 50.4 percent, IDC said. The other vendors in the top five all gained share during the quarter, including number-two Samsung, whose share soared to 18.4 percent from the year-ago 6.5 percent. Amazon, the number three supplier in the third quarter, boasted 9 percent share, up sequentially from the second quarter’s 4.8 percent. The company wasn’t offering tablets in the year-ago period.
Fourth- and fifth-place Asus and Lenovo also posted tablet-share gains on a sequential and year-ago basis. (See table.)
Driven by its Galaxy Tab and Note 10.1, Samsung shipped 5.1 million tablets worldwide in the third quarter, up 115 percent sequentially from the second quarter and up 325 percent the 2011’s third quarter, when Samsung shipped 1.2 million tablets. Asus’s share growth was backed by strong shipments of its Google-branded Nexus 7 device, and Lenovo's gains were driven by strong shipments in China, IDC said.
The overall tablet market grew 49.5 percent year-over-year in the third quarter to 27.8 million unit and by 6.7 percent over the second quarter of 2012, IDC said.
“After a very strong second quarter, Apple saw growth slow as both consumer and commercial (including education) shipments declined, and rumors of a forthcoming iPad mini began to heat up," said Tom Mainelli, IDC’s research director for tablets. "We believe a sizeable percentage of consumers interested in buying an Apple tablet sat out the third quarter in anticipation of an announcement about the new iPad mini. Now that the new mini, and a fourth-generation full-sized iPad, are both shipping we expect Apple to have a very good quarter. However, we believe the mini's relatively high $329 starting price leaves plenty of room for Android vendors to build upon the success they achieved in the third quarter."
For his part, IDC’s Ryan Reith said "Samsung took advantage of an opportunity in the second quarter." The company “offers a wide range of tablet offerings across multiple screen sizes and colors, and that clearly resonated with more buyers this quarter,” he said. “Its growth to 18.4 percent of worldwide market share during the quarter represents the first time a competitor has attained this level of share since the original launch of the iPad."
"With the recent introduction of a number of Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, consumers now have a third viable tablet platform from which to choose,” Reith added. “However, price points are critical in tablets, and Microsoft and its partners will have a tough time winning a share of consumer wallet with price points starting at $500."