iPad mini unboxing

Apple has long been the leader of the tablet market, but it’s starting to lose share as Android-powered devices from Samsung, Amazon, Asus and others begin to gain in popularity. Research firm IDC recently found that Apple’s market share during the third quarter of this year slipped from 59.7 percent to 50.4 percent. That figure is despite Apple’s increase in shipments, from 11.1 million units in Q3 2011 to 14 million units during the third quarter of this year.


Meanwhile, Samsung’s market share jumped from 6.5 percent in Q3 2011 to 18.4 percent in Q3 2012. Its tablet shipments increased from 1.1 million units in the year-ago quarter to 5.1 million units in Q3. Meanwhile, Amazon’s market share is steady at 9 percent with 2.5 million units sold (IDC didn’t have figures for last year), Asus has an 8.6 percent share up from 3.8% last year and Lenovo’s share is relatively steady at 1.4 percent.

Does this mean Apple is in trouble? I don’t think so. It’s only natural that other companies are beginning to catch up and offer competing devices, so its market share will see some natural dilution. IDC says the company’s market share could have been due to consumers waiting for a refresh, too.

“We believe a sizeable percentage of consumers interested in buying an Apple tablet sat out the third quarter in anticipation of an announcement about the new iPad mini,” Tom Mainelli, IDC’s head of tablet research said. “Now that the new mini, and a fourth-generation full-sized iPad, are both shipping we expect Apple to have a very good quarter. However, we believe the mini’s relatively high $329 starting price leaves plenty of room for Android vendors to build upon the success they achieved in the third quarter.”

[via IDC]