Apple’s iOS Tablet Share Falls in Q1 on Strong Android Growth

Apple’s once dominant market share in new tablet shipments continues to erode, according to preliminary data released today by research firm IDC. Apple’s share of worldwide tablet shipment in the first quarter of 2013 fell to 39.6 percent in the face of explosive growth from Android competitors, even as the company outperformed shipment expectations.

Top Five Tablet Vendors (Shipments in Millions)
Source: IDC
1Q2013 Shipments 1Q2013 Market Share 1Q2012 Shipments 1Q2012 Market Share Year-Over-Year Growth
Apple 19.5 39.6% 11.8 58.1% 65.3%
Samsung 8.8 17.9% 2.3 11.3% 282.6%
ASUS 2.7 5.5% 0.6 3.1% 350.0%
Amazon 1.8 3.7% 0.7 3.6% 157.1%
Microsoft 0.9 1.8% 0.0 0.0% 0.0%
Others 15.5 31.5% 4.9 24.1% 216.3%
Total 49.2 100.0% 20.3 100.0% 142.4%

With 19.5 million shipments on the quarter, up from 11.8 million a year ago, Apple’s quarterly shipment market share fell from 58.2 percent to 39.6 percent. Although still firmly in first place, the Cupertino company’s competitors are quickly catching up.

Primary rival Samsung shipped 8.8 million tablets in the quarter for 17.9 percent market share, a growth of 288.7 percent year-over-year. ASUS and Amazon shipped comparatively few tablets – 2.7 and 1.8 million, respectively – but grew significantly over last year’s performance as well.

In an interesting comparison that helps shed light on earlier data from Strategy Analytics, IDC reported that Microsoft shipped approximately 900,000 tablets during the quarter. It should be noted that today’s IDC report tracks individual vendors, while the Strategy Analytics report tracked overall platform market share. For Apple, which makes its own hardware and software without third party involvement, the two measurements are practically identical. For Microsoft, which makes its own hardware but also partners with third party manufacturers, the measurements must be viewed separately.

The Strategy Analytics report estimated that 3 million Windows-based tablets were shipped during the quarter, but did not break that number down by vendor. IDC’s data shows about 900,000 Surface tablets shipped out of total Windows tablet sales of 1.8 million units, a notably less promising figure for Microsoft. Not all is lost in Redmond, however, as IDC’s Ryan Reith explained:

Recent rumors have circulated about the possibility of smaller screen Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets hitting the market. 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 Operating Systems (Shipments in Millions)
Source: IDC
1Q2013 Shipments 1Q2013 Market Share 1Q2012 Shipments 1Q2012 Market Share Year-Over-Year Growth
Android 27.9 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 0.0% 0.0%
Microsoft 0.9 1.8% 0.0 0.0% 0.0%
Others 0.1 0.2% 0.2 1.0% -50.0%
Total 49.2 100.0% 20.3 100.0% 142.4%

Also noteworthy is the disparity in Android-based tablet shipments measured by the two firms. Strategy Analytics estimated 17.6 million Android shipments during the quarter, for 43.4 percent market share. IDC paints a much brighter picture for Google’s open operating system, with 27.8 million units for 56.5 percent market share. Therefore, while Apple still holds the lead in terms of individual vendors, iOS as a platform has been surpassed by Android according to IDC’s data.

IDC stresses that today’s data is preliminary and subject to change as new information becomes available. Both IDC and the previous Strategy Analytics report measure shipments and not sales. Apple controls the majority of its distribution and a very high percentage of its shipments are also sales to end users. For other companies mentioned in the report who work with third party retailers, a shipment does not necessarily constitute a sale to an end user. As with the Strategy Analytics report, only slate-like devices were considered as “tablets;” convertible devices were not included.

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