We read last month that the tablet market was growing at incredible pace, whereas Apple’s iPad sales year-on-year dropped last quarter. The main reason for the iPad’s decline in volume was mostly down to the time between launch and the end of second quarter. In 2012, Apple launched the iPad 3 in March (the first with Retina display), but we’re yet to see a new iPad this year as the most current models were released last November.
That said, Android tablets have been shipping in huge numbers and there are no prizes for guessing which manufacturer is selling the most Android tablets. Yep, it’s Samsung.
Apple remains the top manufacturer with 32.4% of the market, but Samsung is closing gap, climbing from 7.6% last year to 18% this year. All other manufacturers have less than 5% of the market pointing to one key fact: There are hundreds of really cheap Android tablets being shipped from a seemingly huge list of manufacturers, most of whom you won’t have heard of. 62.6% of tablets shipped last quarter were running Google’s mobile operating system.
There are a couple of interesting points to consider here. The first of which I’ve hinted at already: Apple hasn’t released a new tablet since November 2012, and there’s a brand new iPad on the way in the coming months. So, it’s expected that an iPad will be on top of most people’s Christmas lists again this year, and probably the iPad 5 rather than the iPad mini (unless the latter gets a Retina display).
Secondly, consider that no other manufacturer is being up front about the number of tablets sold. Apple famously only supplies as it’s demanded and operates a very efficient demand and supply chain. It always announces sales figures and not ‘shipped’. All the others are shipment numbers, which can be interpreted in many ways.
Lastly, it’s still worth noting that despite the sheer number of tablets being shipped, the iPad still gets used massively more than any other device. In fact, its web traffic share alone was above 82%. To repeat what Tim Cook often questions during keynotes: What are people doing with these other tablets? Are they just cheap standbys and not devices used regularly like phones/computers. Who knows.