Tablet sales grow 142% as Apple’s marketshare slips and Microsoft disappoints

The worldwide tablet market has grown by a remarkable 142% year-on-year, with a weak result for Microsoft and declining marketshare for Apple as Amazon, Asus and Samsung surged, according to new IDC figures.

The IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker for the first quarter of 2013 show 49.2 million tablets were shipped during the quarter, 142.4% from the same quarter last year.

The clear market leader remains Apple, which saw iPad unit shipments grow 65.3% year-on-year from 11.8 million to 19.5 million, although its marketshare slumped from 58.1% to 39.6%.

IDC points out the figures for Apple could be distorted by shifts in Apple’s product release schedule.

“Sustained demand for the iPad mini and increasingly strong commercial shipments led to a better-than expected first quarter for Apple,” IDC tablets research director Tom Mainelli.

“In addition, by moving the iPad launch to the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple seems to have avoided the typical first-quarter slowdown that traditionally occurred when consumers held off buying in January and February in anticipation of a new product launch in March.”

Second-placed Samsung also had a strong year, growing a remarkable 282.6% year-on-year from 2.3 million units shipped in the first quarter of 2012 to 8.8 million units and 17.9% marketshare in 2013.

Asus is another company significantly outpacing the market, largely due to the Nexus 7 tablet it manufactures for Google, with shipments jumping a remarkable 350% from 600,000 with 3.1% marketshare to 2.7 million with 5.5% marketshare.

Amazon had a solid if unspectacular year, with its marketshare ticking up 3.6% to 3.7% as its volumes grew 157.1% from 700,000 to 1.8 million.

The big disappointments were Microsoft’s much hyped Surface and Surface Pro tablets, with unit shipments of just 900,000 for the quarter, with the company claiming a marketshare of just 1.8% for both devices combined.

“Recent rumours have circulated about the possibility of smaller screen Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets hitting the market,” says IDC’s mobility tracker program manager Ryan Reith.

“However, the notion that this will be the saving grace is flawed. Clearly the market is moving toward smart 7-8 inch devices, but Microsoft’s larger challenges centre around consumer messaging and lower cost competition.”

The news comes less than a after PC chipmaker Intel announced its current-quarter revenue will drop by up to 8% year-on-year to around $12.9 billion after a first-quarter year-on-year revenue drop from $12.58 billion from $12.91 billion.

The figures also point to the increasingly divergent fortunes of the PC and smart device markets, with an IDC report recently showing worldwide PC sales had dropped by a massive 13.9% during the first quarter of 2013, with Microsoft’s Windows 8 platform blamed, in part, for the fall.

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