IDC: Apple’s iPad Is Mercilessly Crushing Tablet Competitors [Report]

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Three years after the first iPad, and a worthy contender has yet to Surface (pardon the pun).

Apple is leading the post-PC revolution, and the numbers prove it. Research firm IDC has released its results for the fourth holiday quarter of 2012, and tablet shipments were threw the roof. The iPad is leading the way with 43.6% market share. Samsung and Amazon are trailing behind in a distant second and third.

22.9 million iPads were sold last quarter alone. Shipments were bolstered by Apple’s release of the iPad mini and fourth-gen Retina iPad. What’s crazy is that the iPad is still so unbelievably dominant that every other tablet competitor is barely a blip on Apple’s radar.

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“We expected a very strong fourth quarter, and the market didn’t disappoint,” said Tom Mainelli, research director, Tablets, at IDC. “New product launches from the category’s top vendors, as well as new entrant Microsoft, led to a surge in consumer interest and very robust shipments totals during the holiday season. The record-breaking quarter stands in stark contrast to the PC market, which saw shipments decline during the quarter for the first time in more than five years.”

“Tim Cook has been predicting that tablet sales will one day surpass PC sales”

Tim Cook has been predicting that tablet sales will one day surpass PC sales, and the growth curve definitely supports that argument. Samsung saw drastic year-over-year growth with a 263% spike in shipments, but the Korean company still only sold 7.9 tablets worldwide during the 2012 holiday season. Amazon sold 6 million of its Kindles. Companies like ASUS and Barnes & Noble made up the difference. None of Apple’s major competitors actually release their exact sales numbers, so these are estimates based on IDC’s research.

Microsoft’s Surface tablet didn’t do so hot. “Devices based upon its new Windows 8 and Windows RT operating systems failed to gain much ground during their launch quarter, and reaction to the company’s Surface with Windows RT tablet was muted at best,” according to IDC.

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Apple had a 48.1% growth in iPad shipments over the 2011 holiday quarter, but its market share declined about 3% from the third 2012 quarter. The iPad mini had significant supply restraints during the holidays that hindered sales. Mac sales also declined from the previous quarter, and the PC industry in general is deteriorating. Tablets are the future, and that’s a good thing for the iPad.

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  • xsdogs

    and tablet shipments were threw (through) the roof.

  • FriarNurgle

    Kids got a little Samsung Galaxy Tab for xmas from the ex. Kids and I are pretty big Apple fans but we gave it a shot. Ended up exchanging it (paying a little extra) and getting an iPad mini. Much much happier now.

  • kavok

    Shipments and Sales are entirely different things. Just because a product is shipped doesn’t mean it sold, it just means it is sitting in someone’s inventory. Love how people try to manipulate numbers through perception.

  • markrlangston

    I want that wallpaper on the iPad!!

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by places like the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too. All DMs excepted.

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