Hardware, Software Programs

The Android Swarm Speads to Tablets, Outsells Apple in 2013

According to TechCrunch, Gartner has reported the tablet sales numbers for 2013 and it looks like Android has stolen the lead from Apple’s iOS. Over the course of 2013, the tablet market as a whole sold 195 million tablets, with Android tablets taking the lead away from Apple’s iOS based iPad tablets with a market share of 62%. However, one must take into account that many of these Android tablets are very very cheap and I can almost guarantee that the ASP (average sale price) for these Android tablets is significantly lower than that of the iPads sold during the same period of time.

Based on these percentages, Android sold 121 million tablets (62%) while Apple sold 70 million iOS based iPads (36%) leaving 2% for the rest of the market, which is primarily Windows-based tablets. Since Android is broken down into so many different hardware vendors that then customize Android as their own, it doesn’t really seem fair to compare 10 or so different manufacturers against one. Sure, Apple doesn’t make their OS available to others to use, but it makes sense to break down the tablet sales by manufacturer to get a better idea of company to company competition. Sure, Android vs iOS is important to know for those looking for a bigger app market, but I believe the general consensus is that both Android and iOS are equally important markets to develop apps for.

Unsurprisingly, Apple is still #1 in terms of market share for manufacturers in 2013, but their lead was significantly reduced much like their OS market share. Clearly, 2013 was the year of Samsung’s tablets as they grew a whopping 12% in terms of market share and actually shipped nearly 30 million more tablets in 2013 as they did in 2012. So, they more than quadrupled their actual shipments of tablets from 2012 to 2013, which resulted in the 12% market share growth. ASUS also saw huge growth in 2013, which allowed them to maintain their market share at 5.6% from 5.4%. Amazon, however, saw a shrinkage of their market share even though they shipped 2 million more tablets, a natural result of the fact that the overall market simply grew more than their own shipments did.

What is also interesting to see is that Lenovo tripled their shipments and improved their market share by a few points as well to 3.3% from 1.9%. What some people may overlook is that all of the other tablets in the world represent nearly 31% of the global tablet sales, up 6% from 2012. This means that the market is diversifying and likely getting cheaper and smaller in terms of physical tablet size. While I don’t expect this trend to really continue in 2014 nearly to the levels it did in 2013, I don’t really see Android’s march slowing down unless Microsoft can entice developing markets to adopt Windows 8 for their tablets. And frankly, even if they do, I wouldn’t expect to see those effects until late into 2014 or early 2015.