The end of year holiday shopping period was very good for tablet makers. A new report estimates global tablet shipments reached 76.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2013. That’s 20% growth from the year ago quarter of 64.1 million tablets shipped.
The report, by Strategy Analytics, also shows that Android retained its leadership position with a 62% global market share, while Apple’s iPad line increased to 34% and Windows declined to 4% of global tablet shipments.
( To be clear, “shipments” are the number of units vendors sell to the channel, i.e. distributors, retailers, etc., and not how many actually sell through to end user customers).
A key factor in the uptick in tablet shipments is the growing number of so-called white box or no name unbranded tablets. But name brand tablets also did well.
Strategy Analytics says that Apple's new iPad Air and iPad Mini helped Apple grow share by 7% in the fourth quarter of 2013 (relative to Q3 2013) and in doing so took share from Android and Windows OS Tablets.
(Choosing which tablets to deploy and management issues will be among the key topics covered at the upcoming Tablet Strategy conference in New York on May 6, 2014)
Here comes Android
But Peter King, the research firm’s Director of Tablets, says that "while the new models put a stop to two successive quarters of iOS market share loss (Q2 and Q3 2013), the companies once-per-year tablet refresh strategy is likely to result in it dropping share as Android vendors refresh in Q2 and Q3."
For all of 2013 global tablet shipments reached 227 million units, up 33% from 170.9 million units in 2012. Android continues to dominate overall shipments thanks to sheer scale and so many different vendors and models in the market. Overall, Android tablets accounted for 62% of 2013 total tablet shipments, while iOS models accounting for 33%.
Strategy Analytics said that unlike iOS, both Android and Windows increased their share of the tablet market in 2013 over 2012 though not by any great degree.
Android is up 3% and Windows is up 3.3% for 2013.
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