Android tablets had a massive 2013.About 121 million Android tablets were sold to consumers in 2013, up 127% from the 53 million sold during 2012. Android accounted for 62% of tablet sales in the year, up from 46% last year.
About 70 million iPads were sold during the year, which is only up 15% over the 61 million sold during 2012. Apple's majority 53% market share of sales in 2012 has dwindled to just 36% in 2013.
This is the first year more people bought Android tablets than iPads. Gartner says much of the overall tablet market growth was fueled by low-cost, smaller-screen devices and first-time tablet buyers.
Microsoft tablets exhibited the highest growth.About 4 million Microsoft tablets were sold during 2013, which is up 247% from the 1.1 million sold in 2012. Its market share doubled, but only from a minimal 1% to 2%.
The most interesting trends are happening on the high and low ends of the market.
On the high end, mature markets are reaching saturation, with sales growing only 31% on the year.
It's a big reason why Apple's market share of sales dipped over 16 percentage points in 2013.
On the low end, ultra low-cost generic or "white-box" tablet vendors are reaping the lion's share of the benefits of the growing tablet market in emerging markets. White-box tablets helped push tablet sales up 135% for the year in emerging markets and have propelled Android to a dominant 62% share of the market.
It should be noted that Gartner lumps white-box and forked Android tablets, like the Amazon Kindle Fire, into the Android category. But, Amazon Kindle Fire sales were only up 22% year-over-year, meaning they were not as instrumental as other non-brand, white-box tablets in pushing Android's enormous 127% growth.