updated 08:50 pm EDT, Wed October 30, 2013
Figures from prior to new iPad introduction, still dominant by brand and profit
Market analysis firm IDC is reporting that despite sales of 14.1 million iPads in the calendar third quarter of 2013, Apple's share of the worldwide tablet market dropped 11 percent in the face of increased shipments from others, particularly Samsung. As reported earlier, the iPad remains the clear leader in tablets by individual brand, but the combined total of shipped Android-based tablets is rising, and there was no new iPad product announced during the quarter.
Only Apple reports actual end-user sales, making accurate comparisons difficult. Rivals can -- and do -- ship far more units than are actually sold, and then take the unsold units back or liquidate them. In some cases (notably Amazon), analysts must even guesstimate shipments, since the company doesn't offer anything product-specific. IDC has previously claimed that Android tablets account for the majority of sales, though the study was not based on actual sales and later repudiated.
As mentioned earlier, Samsung more than doubled its shipments of Android-based tablets in Q3, bringing its total to 9.7 million units, taking second place behind Apple's iPad total. It grabbed an estimated 20.4 percent marketshare (up from 12.4 percent in the previous quarter). Asus took third place, increasing shipments to 3.5 million, which is up over 50 percent from the same period last year.
Lenovo saw the biggest growth in shipments, quadrupling them year-over-year and more than quadrupling its share (from 1.1 percent to 4.8 percent share, good enough for fourth place). The China-based company shipped around 2.3 million Android tablets, though what percentage of that was for the home market (which are "Android tablets" in name only, as they don't engage any Google services) was undetermined. Acer brought up the rear of the top five by shipping 1.2 million units, good enough for a 2.5 percent share of the market. This was a 346 percent rise from a year ago.
The 11 percent drop for Apple was credited to the lack of new models in the quarter, and buyers waiting until the inevitable October announcement. The figures should change in the next (holiday) quarter since Apple has now refreshed the line.
Another factor that may work in Apple's favor in the current quarter is that the price differential has lessened. Google and Amazon have recently raised prices on their seven-inch tablets (from $200 to $229), which moves them closer to the iPad mini's premium pricing (which has, thus far, not hurt the iPad mini at all in terms of sales).