Tablet Shipments Continue Meteoric Rise

Global shipments of tablet computers surged 75.3% higher year-over-year (YoY) in 4Q 2012 and 74.3% quarterly to a record high 52.5 million units, according to preliminary results from the International Data Corp.'s (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. Lower average selling prices, the range of new product offerings, and growth in holiday spending all fueled tablet shipments to even greater heights.

"We expected a very strong fourth quarter, and the market didn't disappoint," commented IDC research director for tablets Tom Mainelli.

"New product launches from the category's top vendors, as well as new entrant Microsoft, led to a surge in consumer interest and very robust shipments totals during the holiday season. The record-breaking quarter stands in stark contrast to the PC market, which saw shipments decline during the quarter for the first time in more than five years."

Shipments of Apple's iPads continued to dominate, though growing competition led to a second consecutive quarterly decline in Apple's share of the market. Totaling 22.9 million units, 4Q iPad shipments rose 48.1% YoY though Apple's share of the tablet market dropped to 43.6% from 46.4% in 3Q, according to IDC.

Samsung's tablet shipments soared 263% higher YoY, totaling nearly 8 million for Android and Windows 8 tablets combined, for a 15.1% market share, unchanged from 3Q.

Elsewhere among the top 5 tablet vendors, Amazon and Barnes & Noble also saw their market shares rise. Amazon shipped more than 6 million tablets in 4Q, YoY growth of 26.8% with its market share rising to 11.5% from 8.3% in 3Q.

Shipping nearly one million tablets, 27.7% lower YoY, Barnes & Noble nonetheless saw its market share rise to 1.9% from 0.7%.

Ranking fourth, Asus' market share fell to 5.8% from 7.8% quarterly though sales of its Google-branded Nexus 7 tablet continued strong, and it registered the highest YoY growth rate among the top 5 vendors at 402.3%.

Microsoft entered the tablet market with the introduction of the Surface and Windows RT tablet, though it was unable to break into the top 5, shipping just shy of 900,000 units in 4Q.

The implications of these tablet trends should drive our broadband service provider clients to ensure their products and services are in line with the growing use of tablets, both in the home and in the business.

Written by Kevin Kutcher at 09:00

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