'Brand X' tablets are beating the iPad

‘Brand X’ tablets are beating the iPad


iPad Air 3 will be the smartest iPad yet.
Will the iPad rebound in 2015? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The iPad might be the king of tablets when it comes to quality, but it is no longer the king when it comes to sales.

A new report from research firm Strategy Analytics says that the iPad is now being outsold by so-called Brand X tablets: generic tablets sold under any brand name that isn’t Apple or Samsung.

According to Strategy Analytics, Brand X tablets sold 70 million devices in 2014. That’s 57% of all tablets, compared to Apple tablets (26%) and Samsung tablets (17%).

So who are all these anonymous tablet makers? Amazon’s Kindle is probably a big one, but the biggest suppliers of Brand X tablets are no-name companies either offering tablets at dirt cheap prices as subsidies through carriers, or by selling them in the emerging market.

“It’s pretty easy to find the deals: Get a data plan and a tablet for free,” said Eric Smith, a senior analyst at Strategy Analytics.

Apple probably isn’t troubled by the fact that most people buy non-iPads: it’s always sought out the best profit margins, not the biggest slice of the market share pie. But it’s still true that iPads aren’t selling the way they used to, with most customers opting to upgrade their iPads more like their MacBooks: every four to five years, as opposed to every two years like they might do with an iPhone.

As for what people do with Brand X tablets? Not much, it looks like. Talking to other analyst firms, Recode says this about Brand X tablets:

“You’re seeing them show up in different places, but the usage is fundamentally different from the more capable tablets like Apple’s iPad and the Samsung Galaxy.”

Although consumers may purchase an inexpensive tablet from eFun or Asus, or receive an Ellipsis free with a two-year Verizon Wireless contract, these devices may be gathering dust. Chitika Insights released a report in January showing that Apple’s iPads account for 70 percent of tablet Web traffic in North America, based on its analysis of online ad impressions.

Sounds like some pretty crappy tablets, don’t you think? I’m glad I have an iPad.

Source: Recode