Apple's Share of Tablet Market Sees Slight Holiday Quarter Boost
Following its mobile phone report earlier this week, research firm IDC has published its estimates of tablet shipments for the fourth quarter of 2013, showing that Apple continues to lead the market with roughly one-third of all shipments.
Apple's share of the market has generally declined over the past two years amid the proliferation of low-cost Android tablets, particularly unbranded "whitebox" devices in the Chinese market. The holiday quarter with refreshed iPads did, however, allow Apple to raise its share of the market to 33.8 percent from 29.7 percent in the previous quarter.
Apple once again led the worldwide market for tablets, shipping 26 million units during the quarter, up from 14.1 million the previous quarter and 22.9 million in 4Q12. While the quarter represented the company's most successful on record, its year-over-year growth of 13.5% was well below the industry average. The numbers bring into focus the challenges the company faces as it attempts to grow its tablet business in markets outside of its traditional mature-market strongholds and in the face of continued success from competitors both large and small.
Apple saw its worldwide tablet market share for the quarter grow to 33.8%, up from 29.7% in the third quarter but down from its 38.2% share in the fourth quarter of 2012.
As always, it is important to note that IDC's numbers track shipments instead of sales, and thus how many shipped devices are making their way into consumers' hands remains unclear. IDC's figures are also estimates, as most companies do not release their exact tablet shipment data and thus research firms must rely on supply chain data and calculations from information that is made public by manufacturers to build their estimates.