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IDC: iPad actually gained share after Android tablets

updated 11:55 am EDT, Wed September 14, 2011

DC data shows iPad up in spring tablet shares

Apple managed to gain market share in tablets at the very time that many of its new competitors were supposed to be taking that share away, IDC said Wednesday. Having full access to data from the past spring, it found that the iPad had gained share, moving up from 65.7 percent at the start of the year to 68.3 percent. Multiple Android tablets' arrivals only led to Google's share shrinking, dropping from 34 percent in early 2011 to 26.8 percent mid-year.

It's suggested that RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook may have cannibalized some of Android's potential share: its debut gave it 4.9 percent of the market.

Analysts also revised their figures to challenge others' claims that the iPad would gradually lose ground. In the soon to finish summer quarter, IDC expected Android to lose even more share, dropping down to 23 percent. A recovery could occur in the fall, to 25.9 percent, but Apple would eventually drop closer to 50 percent at an undefined point in the future.

HP's share through its $100 TouchPad run may have ironically put it into substantial competition. Summer sales will have given it 4.7 percent share, and it could still have significant share with the October follow-up. Combined with the clearout pricing and HP's ultimate plan to exit webOS hardware, however, it would cease to be a factor.

Tablets as a whole saw their shipments surge 304 percent year-over-year and even 89 percent just on a season-to-season basis. Virtually all of that demand came from iPad growth. The sphere would continue to grow through the back half of 2011 as even more competitors arrived but also as Apple worked to keep ahead.

The shift in perceptions of market share helps validate growing perceptions that Android won't repeat the performance it has enjoyed so far in smartphones. Legal action from Apple notwithstanding, Android tablets haven't had the luxuries of lower pricing, carrier distribution, and strong hardware reviews of their smartphone parallels. Reviews have mentioned a severe lack of apps as well as a slightly disjointed interface and hardware that is often heavier and slower than Apple's.

A companion look at e-readers saw the category shrink in the spring and grow at a slower but still fast 167 percent over the same point a year ago. Amazon still held the top spot in overall share at 51.7 percent of devices being Kindles, but Barnes & Noble was now at 21.2 percent with the Nook. Demand would see a big spike towards the end of 2011 and see the total mix climb from the originally thought 16.2 million to 27 million.

Some of that would come with many modern readers dipping below the $100 mark, along with the expected Kindle tablet. The Amazon slate wouldn't really compete against the iPad, however, since most believe it will be deliberately limited to reading and handfuls of Amazon content.

by MacNN Staff



  1. bitwrangler

    Joined: Dec 1969



    These market share numbers are utterly meaningless since they are derived from "units shipped" data vs sold through. It's already been shown that several Android manufacturers have been channel stuffing and the simple reality is that in all likelihood, the iPad own >90% of the tablets that are actually in peoples hands right now. Hardly a day goes by now where I don't see an iPad being used by someone. To date, I have yet to see a single non iPad tablet out in the wild, not a scientific sampling at all, but I have a feeling an experience shared by the overwhelming majority of others.

  1. BigMac2

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bogus report

    Like bitwrangler wrote, numbers based on shipped units are totally meaningless to give the real portrait of this new emerging market. Giving the fact that we already knows Samsung, RIM, Acer and every other iPad clone are stuffing sales channels of unwanted plastic garbage I hope no one has pay for this empty report. Those so called analysts should get back to school or get a job at Wallmart.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Meaningless

    Yeah, we all know the iPad didn't gain share. Oh, wait, what is meaningless again?

    And I love how we all 'know' that the other people are all stuffing the channel to raise their numbers. How do we know this? Oh, we read it on the internet...

  1. Makosuke

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Questionable, Not Meaningless

    It's inaccurate to call this meaningless, but the difference between shipped and sold is substantial.

    Given that HP *shipped* plenty of tablets, but the performance was apparently so abysmal that they literally killed the entire division and started clearing remaining stock at fire-sale prices, it's pretty obvious that there can be a huge discrepancy there.

    Which will actually give a pretty good idea about the difference--if HP's share spikes by a huge amount in the next quarter, then it'd mean they were selling most of what they shipped, and the fire-sale resulted in extra units shipped and sold. If it doesn't look nearly so good, that'll indicate that the fire sale was just clearing channel inventory.

    Of course, even if we assume that every single Android tablet shipped also sold, they still lost share, which has got to be pretty discouraging. That may well change once HP is out of the loop fully, and if Blackberry returns end up being as high as rumors say, but for the time being things certainly aren't looking good for Samsung and Moto.

  1. Makosuke

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Unscientific addition...

    Forgot to mention that in a completely unscientific but somewhat telling data point, a co-worker of mine, who's a regular, non-geeky guy that's always used Windows at home, was thinking about getting a cheap laptop to take along on a trip. He opted, instead, for an iPad 2. Which was interesting in and of itself, but what was telling was that he didn't even mention or consider tablets from any other company. He probably knows they exist, but they certainly weren't on his shopping list.

    Obviously that's not true everywhere--even with the smaller market share, there are still hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Android tablets being sold. But it is an example of what seems to be a common perception--for the average consumer, there's the iPad, and there's "everything else."

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I certainly remember how the

    market manipulators were trying to beat down Apple's share price earlier in the year by claiming that iPad market share would shrink to almost nothing as some 50 Android tablet vendors would flood the tablet market and literally crush the iPad out of existence based on Android smartphone growth patterns. All those jackasses were wrong because Android tablets didn't turn out as less expensive than the iPad as they claimed and obviously there was little in the way of subsidies to lower consumers entry into using Android tablets.

    With the iPad Brazilian factory coming on line in December, Apple could really put some distance by fulfilling iPad demand during the holidays. iPad demand looks strong enough to grab even more market share by early next year which should really put pressure on non-Apple tablet vendors margins.

  1. facebook_Robert

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Sep 2011


    Numbers are meaningful

    No, the fact that you first put devices in the channel - and then they sell from the channel - is normal in business.

    The article clearly states that, for example HP got its shared by liquidating the tablets. HP did channel stuff in a manner of speaking, they made far more tablets than would have sold at $499 - the original price of the Touchpad.

    However, they then liquidated the tablets and sold them all.

    This is why your arguments about channel stuffing, are ultimately not very interesting, unless you believe these manufacturers are accepting returns and filling landfills with returned tablets - ultimately what goes in the channel is sold.

    Nobody is disputing the subtleties of it all - the article makes it clear HP had to liquidate.

    But saying the report - which is very positive to Apple is 'meaningless' means you just picked up on one tiny complication in analyzing data - and latched onto it like its the most important thing without really understanding what you are talking about.

    You are just wrong, plain, and simple, wrong.

  1. Lifeisabeach

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Shipped = Sold. Sooner or later

    As HP has proved in a rather spectacular way, units shipped WILL equal units sold, even if it takes a fire sale at steep losses to do so.

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