Android # 1 in Tablet Sales As Apple Falters

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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Android Tablets over take the iPad making Samsung almost # 1

Samsung v iPad, who will be the new king

IDC reports that “Android products once again drove much of the shipment growth in the market as iOS growth stalled and Windows tablets continued to struggle to win over consumers.”

Samsung alone sold 9.7 million tablets in Q3 2103 and overall Android sales were about 32 million, almost 70% of all tablets sold. Those numbers dwarf Apple which stalled at 14 million iPads, about the same as Q3 last year. 

The 4th quarter of 2013 will probably be better for Apple with the launch of the iPad Air and iPad Mini Retina but it seems unlikely Apple will dominate the market they created only 3 years ago.

In the time since last Christmas when a Samsung Galaxy Tab or Kindle might have been a second best tablet compared to an iPad.  Apple had already lost the battle by then since it’s 40% market share was dwarfed by 50% plus for Android tablets.

“Android Worldwide tablet shipments grew to 47.6 million units in the third quarter of 2013 (3Q13) according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. ”

Lenovo, Samsung, Acer and even Microsoft are growing their tablet sales. Apple’s growth year over year was a meagre .6%.

None of these numbers mean anything to you, unless you are an investor or app developer. Pick the tablet that suit your needs. However, the “exclusive club membership” cache of owning an Apple iPad is over. Price, features, tablet size and marketing advantage has shifted from Apple to Android.

In the tablet business Microsoft is a distant #3.  Don’t count Microsoft out of the game. Android and Samsung started with zero market share only 2 years ago. In IT, the game changes quickly.

Ironically, Microsoft gets a license fee from 80% of the Android devices sold, based on patent licensing settlements with the manufacturers. The fee is rumored to be $7 to $9 per device. Google makes nothing from their free license of Android making their money from advertising revenues.

“With no new iPad product launches in the second or third quarter to drive volume, Apple experienced a quarter-over-quarter decline in shipments from 14.6 million in 2Q13 to 14.1 million in 3Q13. Year over year, iPad shipments grew less than one percent. Apple’s slowing growth—caused in part by its decision in late 2012 to move its product launches from earlier in the year to the fourth quarter—has caused the company’s tablet market share to slip to 29.6%, its lowest share to date. However, with the new iPad Air shipping November 1st and the refreshed iPad mini with Retina scheduled to roll out later in November, IDC expects Apple to enjoy robust shipment growth during the fourth quarter.” IDC

“With two 7.9-inch models starting at $299 and $399, and two 9.7-inch models starting at $399 and $499, Apple is taking steps to appeal to multiple segments,” said Jitesh Ubrani, Research Analyst with IDC’s Tablet Tracker. “While some undoubtedly hoped for more aggressive pricing from Apple, the current prices clearly reflect Apple’s ongoing strategy to maintain its premium status. It’s worth noting that Apple wasn’t the only one to increase the price of its small-sized tablet during this product cycle: Both Google and Amazon increased the price of their newest 7-inch tablets from $199 to $229 to cover the higher costs associated with high resolution screens and better processors.”

“Samsung once again secured the second position with shipments of about 9.7 million units. The company, which owes a measure of its tablet success to its ability to bundle them with other successful Samsung products, such as smartphones and televisions, grabbed 20.4% of the worldwide market. ASUS, which makes the Nexus 7 for Google, shipped about 3.5 million total units during the quarter for a third place finish and 7.4% market share. PC powerhouse Lenovo moved into the number four tablet spot with shipments of 2.3 million units and a 4.8% share. Finally, Acer rounded out the top five with 1.2 million units shipped and a 2.5% share. Notably, vendors from outside the top five were responsible for over one third of the shipments in 3Q13. IDC tracks dozens of tablet vendors, and this quarter “Others” represents a combination of major vendors (such as Amazon, Microsoft, HP, and Dell) and lesser-known, so-called white box vendors that typically sell ultra-low cost Android devices at often unsustainably low margins.”

“White box tablet shipments continue to constitute a fairly large percentage of the Android devices shipped into the market,” said Tom Mainelli, Research Director, Tablets at IDC. “These low cost Android-based products make tablets available to a wider market of consumers, which is good. However, many use cheap parts and non Google-approved versions of Android that can result in an unsatisfactory customer experience, limited usage, and very little engagement with the ecosystem. Android’s growth in tablets has been stunning to watch, but shipments alone won’t guarantee long-term success. For that you need a sustainable hardware business model, a healthy ecosystem for developers, and happy end users.”

Top Five Tablet Vendors, Shipments, and Market Share, Third Quarter 2013 (Shipments in millions)                 


3Q13 Unit Shipments

3Q13 Market Share

3Q12 Unit Shipments

3Q12 Market Share

Year-over-Year Growth











































Others represents white box Android and Microsoft Windows tablets.

With statistics and quotes from IDC

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