The war between the two biggest platforms in mobile technology rages on, with both Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iOS and the Android operating system vying for supremacy. And figures released recently suggest that the latter is doing an excellent job of responding to the huge success that is the iPad.
Android devices take top slot in 2013
Android-driven tablets had an extremely successful year in 2013. Firstly, they experienced a worldwide sales growth of 127%, which is a pretty spectacular figure even for the rapidly growing tablet market. Secondly, according to research firm Gartner, Android tablets have now collectively overtaken the iPad in the marketplace, although the iPad of course still remains the biggest selling tablet computer overall.
On the back of the increasing popularity of such tablets as the Samsung Galaxy series, Android tablet sales increased hugely to 120.9 million in 2013. This represents an overall global market share of 61.9 percent, with the overall sales figure more than doubling the 53.3 million that were shifted in 2012, which represented a 45.8 percent market share.
Apple’s market share
One doesn’t need to be Einstein in the mathematics department to see that this also means that iPad sales are increasing pretty rapidly as well. But as it becomes clear that the tablet computer is a hugely popular form of technology, it is clear that the tablet marketplace is going to become increasingly diverse, and eventually saturated. These figures indicate the first part of this process, and no doubt Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s market share will decline further in future.
Given that the iPad is essentially taking on the entirety of the remainder of the tablet market on its own, it’s pretty much inevitable that its market share will dwindle over time. It could be asserted that it was pretty much miraculous that it managed to hold on to so much of the tablet market for so long.
Emerging economies are key market
However, an important trend to note in these figures is the demand for smaller, low-cost tablets, particularly in the ‘emerging economies’. While Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has a mighty reputation in North America and Western Europe, other companies that have yet to make much of an impression in the Western market are extremely popular elsewhere, particularly in East Asia. Furthermore, the aforementioned Samsung experiences particular success in its native territories, as well as also doing very well in the Western marketplace.
Thus, Samsung is currently the second most successful manufacturer of tablets at this point in time, managing to shift 37.4 million units in 2013, to achieve a market share of 19.1 percent. This underlines the vast strides that the company has made in the last few years, but also indicates that they still have some way to go to overtake Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) as the world’s biggest seller of tablet computers, as the company itself has stated that it intends to do during the next twelve months.
So these figures are significant in terms of the trends we can expect to see in the tablet market in the future. Clearly the days of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) dominance are over, but we shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that the same will happen to the predominance of the iPad.