ONLINE RETAILER Amazon became the second largest tablet vendor in the last quarter of 2011.
Amazon's Kindle Fire was only available in the US, yet the firm managed to shift almost 3.9 million tablets, taking 14 per cent market share according to IHS Isuppli. Such was the popularity of the firm's cut price tablets that Amazon took six per cent worldwide market share for all of 2011, even though the Kindle Fire didn't go on sale until November.
Apple's Ipad still remained on top of the tablet market, with IHS Isuppli claiming the firm shipped 15.4 million devices accounting for 57 per cent of fourth quarter 2011 shipments. Worryingly for Apple, though, that was down seven points, while its rivals were all picking up market share.
Barnes & Noble enjoyed considerable success with its Nook tablet, shipping almost two million devices in the fourth quarter, while Samsung shipped 2.1 million tablets. Asus on the other hand fell back to 612,000 units shipped, even though its Transformer tablets are highly rated.
What sets Amazon's market share apart from its rivals is not only was it accumulated in less than two months but the Kindle Fire is only one SKU in just a single market. Samsung has several models in its Galaxy Tab range and even Apple, which is known for its lean supply chain, has six SKUs of its Ipad 2 in black and white, so there is a range of prices and configurations that in theory should have helped bump up sales.
Amazon makes a loss on every Kindle Fire it sells, however it is widely accepted that the company makes its money back from selling digital books, media content and other products through its online retail operation. With Amazon expected to bring the Kindle Fire to other markets in the very near future, Apple's dominance of the tablet market could come under serious threat in 2012. µ