GLOBAL SHIPMENTS of Android tablets reached a record 41 percent market share in the third quarter, according to a report by Strategy Analytics.
The firm, which cannot reveal the methods it uses to collect market data for propriety reasons, claims that while Android tablet sales accounted for 41 percent of the market, shipping 10.2 million units in the third quarter, up from 29 percent a year earlier, Apple's IOS tablet sales declined to 57 percent from 64 percent in the same quarter last year, and shifted just 14 million Ipads worldwide.
Despite the increase in Android device market share, the report said global tablet shipments grew just 43 percent, from 17.2 million units in the third quarter of 2011 to 24.7 million in the third quarter of 2012. Compared with 289 percent growth in the second quarter of 2011, Strategy Analytics said this growth "was the weakest growth rate since the modern tablet industry began in quarter two 2010".
Strategy Analytics said that this general slowdown and Android share increase were due to three main reasons: the global economy slowed down so people were buying fewer gadgets, Apple was quiet on the tablet front ahead of its Ipad Mini and forth generation Ipad launch, and Android competition got tougher, with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean becoming more intuitive, user friendly and thus increasing in popularity.
The analyst firm also said that the gap between Apple and individual hardware vendors making Android tablets is still "quite large" but collectively they are slowly muscling in on Apple's market dominance.
However, speaking with the firm's executive director, Neil Mawston, we found that the report's data refers to "sell-in" devices, that is, the number of tablets sold from hardware vendors to retailers and not "sell-through" volume sold from vendors through retailers to customers. For all we know, there could be a stacks and stacks of Android tablets holding up stock room ceilings in high street stores like Currys and PC World that they cannot shift, so it doesn't necessarily mean that many Android tablets were "sold".
Regardless, if Strategy Analytics' report is accurate and Android tablets are in fact shipping to retailers in larger volumes, then this alone tends to show that they are increasingly in demand and are becoming more popular with consumers.
Mawston added that the introduction of Windows 8 tablets and laptop hybrids, which launched globally today, should help spike the growth in tablet sales in the fourth quarter as hardware vendors push devices in the runup to the holiday season. µ