While Apple saw strong sales for all its iOS devices during its post-holiday quarter, Android tablet sales slumped, giving up any gains that Android had seen as a tablet platform during the holiday shopping season.
According to IDC, overall tablet shipments were down more than the analyst firm had expected. The decline to 17.4 million units represented a 38.4% drop off from the holiday quarter shipments of 28.2 million units – a notably steeper decline than IDC’s predicted 34% decline.
While overall tablet shipments were down, Android tablets slumped significantly more than Apple’s iPad, which gained an additional 13.3% of the tablet market.
iPad shipments dropped to 11.8 million compared to Apple’s record holiday quarter, during which Apple shipped 15.4 million iPads. However, the iPad share of the overall tablet market grew significantly, to 68% of the global market from a low of 54.7% the previous quarter.
After a strong launch, Amazon’s Kindle Fire lost significant marketshare, going from 16.8% of the market on shipment of 4.8 million units during the holiday quarter to just over 4%. Samsung tablets stole second place from Amazon, which dropped to third place and was trailed by Lenovo and the Barnes & Noble Nook at fourth and fifth in overall market shipments.
“Apple reasserted its dominance in the market this quarter, driving huge shipment totals at a time when all but a few Android vendors saw their numbers drop precipitously after posting big gains during the holiday buying season,” said Tom Mainelli, research director, Mobile Connected Devices at IDC. “Apple’s move to position the iPad as an all-purpose tablet, instead of just a content consumption device, is resonating with consumers as well as educational and commercial buyers. And its decision to keep a lower-priced iPad 2 in the market after it launched the new iPad in March seems to be paying off as well.”
Still, the research firm sees Android as down but not out of the tablet game.
“It seems some of the mainstream Android vendors are finally beginning to grasp a fact that Amazon, B&N, and Pandigital figured out early on: Namely, to compete in the media tablet market with Apple, they must offer their products at notably lower price points,” Mainelli added. “We expect a new, larger-screened device from Amazon at a typically aggressive price point, and Google will enter the market with an inexpensive, co-branded ASUS tablet designed to compete directly on price with Amazon’s Kindle Fire. The search giant’s new tablet will run a pure version of Android, whereas the Fire runs Amazon’s own forked version of the OS that cuts Google out of the picture.”