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Tablet sales surge worldwide though Europe lagging

by David Needle

April 30 2012

Canalys report says the rise of Amazon's Kindle Fire is "a testament to the need for a compelling content proposition."
Canalys report says the rise of Amazon's Kindle Fire is "a testament to the need for a compelling content proposition."

A new report on worldwide tablet shipments shows booming sales across several regions with the U.S. and China leading the way.

Market analysis firm Canalys says North America remained the largest region by shipment volume (almost half of the global total), with tablets representing 36% of PCs shipped. Overall, global tablet shipments more than tripled year-on-year in Q1 2012 with 20.3 million tablets shipped representing 19% of all client PC shipments in the quarter.

Asia Pacific was the second largest region rising 232% from a year ago to over 5 million units. But shipments in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) were “only” 4.7 million in Q1, representing a bump up from the same quarter a year of 180%. 

As a result, Canalys now ranks China as the second largest market for tablets, with shipments in Q1 six times what they were a year earlier. “Localization of content and app stores is particularly important for success here, which most foreign competitors have yet to achieve,” said Nicole Peng, director of Canalys Research in China. 

Canalys’ latest quarterly research shows Apple continuing to dominate the market, though the firm estimates Apple had 58% share globally in Q1, down from 74% a year earlier.

“Apple’s performance in the Asia Pacific region is of particular note, with shipments growing 252% even though the new iPad shipped earlier in North America and Europe,” said Canalys Research Analyst, Michael Kauh. 

Canalys estimates Amazon remained in second place with 10% share, although all its shipments were in North America.

“Amazon’s rise in the pad space is testament to the need for a compelling content proposition. You cannot succeed by focusing on device specifications alone,” Kauh added. 

Samsung was the third biggest tablet vendor in the quarter, but given the size of its portfolio, Canalys says Samsung’s performance has been disappointing. “It tries to position its pads in the same price bracket as Apple, but its lack of content means the products are often overlooked by consumers,” Kauh said.

Canalys’ research ranks Asus in fourth place, followed by Lenovo, RIM and Acer.

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