iPad Pro Outsells Microsoft Surface in Launch Quarter
The latest numbers from market research firm IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker show that Apple remains the largest vendor in a declining tablet market, shipping 16.1 million iPads in the fourth calendar quarter of 2015. While the iPad continues to be the best-selling tablet, its worldwide market share remains only 24.5 percent despite the all-new iPad Pro launching in early November.
iPad shipments declined 24.8 percent compared to the year-ago quarter, when they totaled 21.4 million for 28.1 percent market share. The stagnant iPad sales during the holiday shopping season may be more attributable to the lack of an iPad Air refresh in 2015, however, as the iPad Pro outsold Microsoft Surface tablets in its debut quarter in what IDC describes as a "successful" launch.
"Despite lukewarm reviews, the iPad Pro was the clear winner this season as it was the top selling detachable, surpassing notable entries from Microsoft and other PC vendors," said Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst with IDC. "It's also important to note that the transition towards detachable tablets has presented positive opportunities for both Apple and Microsoft. However, Google's recent foray into this space has been rather lackluster as the Android platform will require a lot more refinement to achieve any measurable success.
Samsung continued to be the second largest tablet vendor with 9 million tablets shipped in the fourth quarter for 13.7 percent market share, an 18.1 percent year-over-year unit decline. Amazon, Lenovo, and Huawei rounded off the top five, with 5.2 million, 3.2 million, and 2.2 million global tablet shipments in the fourth quarter respectively. All other tablet vendors had a combined 45.8 percent market share.
iPad sales have declined for eight consecutive quarters year-over-year due to, among other reasons, longer tablet refresh cycles compared to smartphones. Apple is rumored to introduce a new iPad Air 3 at a March media event, which could help combat the decline alongside the iPad Pro and iPad mini 4, but most of those sales will fall within the second calendar quarter of 2016.
Overall tablet shipments in 2015 totaled 206.8 million, down 10.1 percent from 230.1 million in 2014.