Apple tablet share hit low point ahead of iPad refresh

Oct 31, 2013
A woman looks at the new iPad Mini during an Apple announcement on October 22, 2013 in San Francisco, California

Apple's share of the tablet market fell to its lowest point on record in the third quarter, ahead of the launch of its new iPads, a survey showed Thursday.

Research firm IDC's survey said Apple's slid to 29.6 percent, its lowest share since it fueled the tablet craze with its first iPads.

Worldwide tablet shipments grew 36.7 percent from a year ago to 47.6 million units in the third quarter. That was seven percent higher than the second quarter, lower than IDC's forecasts.

Apple sold 14.1 million in the quarter, little changed from a year ago, in part due to its decision to move its product launch to the fourth quarter.

But IDC said the new iPad Air shipping November 1 and refreshed iPad mini should help the California group regain momentum.

"Apple is taking steps to appeal to multiple segments," said IDC's Jitesh Ubrani.

"While some undoubtedly hoped for more aggressive pricing from Apple, the current prices clearly reflect Apple's ongoing strategy to maintain its premium status. It's worth noting that Apple wasn't the only one to increase the price of its small-sized tablet during this product cycle: Both Google and Amazon increased the price of their newest seven-inch tablets."

Samsung held the number-two spot with shipments of about 9.7 million units, IDC said, for a market share of 20.4 percent.

Taiwan's Asus, which makes the Nexus 7 for Google, grabbed 7.4 percent of the market with 3.5 million units, and China's Lenovo was fourth with a 4.8 percent share and 2.3 million units.

Over one-third of the market was held by other vendors including Amazon, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Dell, along with lesser-known, so-called white box vendors that typically sell Android devices at low prices.

"White box shipments continue to constitute a fairly large percentage of the Android devices shipped into the market," said IDC's Tom Mainelli.

"However, many use cheap parts and non Google-approved versions of Android that can result in an unsatisfactory customer experience, limited usage, and very little engagement with the ecosystem. Android's growth in tablets has been stunning to watch, but shipments alone won't guarantee long-term success."

Explore further: Samsung extends smartphone lead over Apple, survey says (Update)

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