After making waves in the smartphone market, it seems Samsung has finally got a footing in the tablet market, which has been dominated by Apple so far. According to research firm IDC, the Korean company has doubled its share of the tablet market in Q4 of 2012.
Samsung, manufacturers of the Galaxy Tab series, sold 7.9 million units, up from 2.2 million a year ago and commands 15.1 percent of the market. That figure is nearly one-third of Apple’s share, who now holds a market share of 43.6 percent, down from 51.7 percent. Apple lost market share despite selling more tablets, so it does signal a sort of surge for Samsung.
Apple's iPad is still the market leader, but Samsung has seen more than a 200 percent rise in share
The two have been competing to get a greater share of the tablet PC market, seen as key to their overall growth. Global shipments of tablet PCs surged 75 percent in the final quarter of 2012 to a record 52.5 million units.
"We expected a very strong fourth quarter, and the market didn't disappoint," said Tom Mainelli, Research Director - Tablets, 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 tablet PC market is expected to grow further in the coming years, certainly faster than PC sales. Even Microsoft felt obliged to launch the Surface slates powered by the Windows 8. Amongst the other top 5 tablet vendors, Amazon and Barnes & Noble both saw their market share shoot up sharply during the holiday season. Amazon shipped more than 6 million Kindle Fires during the quarter, increasing its share to 11.5 percent, a year-over year growth of 26.8 percent. Close to a million units of B&N’s Nook were shipped, increasing its share to 1.9 percent. Meanwhile, Asus, in fourth place, saw its share slip from 7.8 percent to 5.8 percent despite a strong showing in the market of its Google-branded Nexus 7 tablet. In fact, it has the highest year-over-year increase in the top five with an increase of 402.3 percent. However, IDC’s report didn’t show Microsoft’s tablet setting the market on fire. Microsoft shipped only 900,000 unit in the three months. IDC reckons this is due to the higher prices of Microsoft’s products, but it could also be due to a lack of early adoption as Microsoft only introduced the Surface during that quarter.
However, the research firm believes Microsoft will be a crucial player in the sector in the long term. "There is no question that Microsoft is in this tablet race to compete for the long haul," said Ryan Reith, Program Manager - Mobile Device Trackers, IDC.