Tablet Shipments

In the fourth quarter, worldwide tablet shipments reached a record total of 52.5 million units as per the information gathered through the preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet tracker. The demand for tablets shot by 75.3 percent year over year in the fourth quarter of 2012, an increase over 29.9 million units. The market expanded due to lower average selling prices (ASPs), variety of new product offerings and increased spending in the holiday season.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPad once again ruled the roost, a total of 22.9 million units were shipped, this coincides with the IDCs forecast for the period. The iPad mini launch and the availability of the fourth generation full-sized iPad were catalysts that led tremendous 48.1 percent shipment increment over the corresponding quarter last year. However, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) saw its share for the straight second quarter (down to 43.6% from 46.4% last quarter) in the market declining due to fierce competition from other rivals.

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) sat on number two position with 263 percent year over year growth. It shipped approximately 8 million combined Android and Windows 8 tablets during the fourth quarter and captured 15.1 percent of the market., Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) also carved a niche in top 5 vendors, and both witnessed an increase in their market share because the new products of the vendors gained a strong foothold during the holiday season. Total tablet shipments of Amazon came in at 6 million tablets, an increase from 8.3 percent to 11.5 percent, with year over year growth of 26.8 percent; Barnes & Nobles shipped approximately 1 million units, increasing its share to 1.9 percent, up from 0.7 percent, despite a year over year growth rate of -27.7 percent.

Asus was number four and witnessed a sharp pull in its share from 7.8 percent to 5.8 percent, though the company continued to ship its Google brand Nexus 7 tablet, it had the highest year over year rise in the top five at 402.5 percent. Microsoft could not make its place in the top five tablet vendors despite its much hyped Windows RT tablet. It shipped around 900,000 units in to the channel.

Top 5 Vendors, Worldwide Tablet Shipments, Fourth Quarter 2012 (Preliminary) (Units Shipments are in millions)

Top 5 Vendors Worldwide Tablet Shipments

IDC has represented in the Graph form:

IDC Graph

The fourth quarter also includes the holiday season, which makes it important and special. In the year 2013, these tablet makers will have a tough battle, with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) doing everything possible to cling on to first place. Amazon and Samsung competing for the second and Microsoft will try to get a rank in the top five tablet vendors.

“We expected a very strong fourth quarter, and the market didn’t disappoint,” said Tom Mainelli, research director, Tablets, at IDC. “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.”