With Apple just ending its conference call for its quarterly results, Strategy Analytics has published its numbers on global tablet sales for the quarter. Apple and the iPad remain in the lead with 57% of all shipments, but just as Apple missed sales expectations on the iPad, it also is losing some market share in the tablet market overall, with Android picking up the slack to reach an all-time high of 41% of shipments on overall shipments of just under 25 million units.
Strategy Analytics says that shipments were up by 43% on the same quarter a year ago, when they totaled 17.2 million. That’s not actually as impressive as it might sound. The year before, they were up by 289% compared to 2011 annually in Q2 2011. In fact, this is the slowest growth rate Strategy Analytics has seen; it started marking numbers in Q2 2010.
Although Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s forked-Android tablets have been creating a lot of buzz, Strategy Analytics notes that anticipation for a new iPad model — which in fact was only announced this week — cooled buying somewhat. The other major factor is lingering economic uncertainty, which is impacting consumer spending for more than just tablets.
“Demand for tablets slowed due to ongoing economic uncertainty and consumers holding off purchases in anticipation of multiple new models, like the iPad Mini, during the upcoming Q4 holiday season,” writes Peter King, Director at Strategy Analytics.
Strategy Analytics calls Apple’s 14 million iPad shipment for the quarter “disappointing”. It’s also a clear decline of 7% on the same quarter a year ago. And because the tablet market, even more than the smartphone market, has been a two-horse race when it comes to platforms, Apple’s loss has been Android’s gain. “Apple’s slowdown allowed the Android community to make gains,” King writes.
Android’s 41% this quarter (10.2 million units shipped, double the number last year) is a big leap from the 29% share it had a year ago.
And as it was the case in the earlier days of smartphones, there was no single vendor on Android that is coming close to Apple in terms of volumes, points out Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics.
The jury still out on whether Samsung will be able to repeat its eventual domination in tablets as it has in smartphones, especially since Amazon is now shipping its tablets globally, and Asus is behind the Nexus 7.
That could all change in the next couple of quarters, with the introduction of Windows 8 — although as it does in smartphones, Microsoft has a long way to go. SA notes that in this last quarter, shipments of Microsoft-powered tablets accounted for only 2% of the global total.
Strategy Analytics notes that these numbers are for tablets-only and not e-book readers.