Apple’s decision to shift its iPad launches to the fall from earlier in the year appears to have undermined its standing versus rival tablet makers.
With no new iPads to drive sales, Apple’s share of the worldwide tablet market slipped to its lowest point ever in the third quarter of 2013, according to the latest data from IDC. The research firm says that iPad shipments for the period topped out at 14.1 million units, up less than one percent from the same period a year earlier. At the same time, Apple’s share of the tablet market fell to 29.6 percent from 40.2 percent a year earlier, charting its lowest point to date.
The iPad’s slowing growth in the quarter proved a real boon to Android tablet makers. Samsung, Asus, Lenovo and Acer all saw big year-over-year gains in shipments and market share, with Samsung — Apple’s arch rival — shipping 9.7 million tablets to claim a share of 20.4 percent, a gain of 123 percent over the 12.4 percent market share it captured in the third quarter of 2012.
An unfortunate decline for Apple, though perhaps not as concerning as it might be. With the iPad Air shipping Friday after a volley of laudatory reviews and the new Retina display iPad mini headed to market “later in November,” Apple’s certain to chart some significant tablet market growth this quarter. And the annual holiday shopping binge will likely amplify it.
“With two 7.9-inch [iPad mini] models starting at $299 and $399, and two 9.7-inch [iPad] models starting at $399 and $499, Apple is taking steps to appeal to multiple segments,” IDC analyst Jitesh Ubrani said in a statement.
And what of the broader tablet market? How’s that doing? It’s still growing, though not as quickly as it had been. Third-quarter tablet shipments totaled 47.6 million units, up 36.7 percent over the same quarter last year. Significant growth, obviously, but a big decline from the 60 percent growth of the second quarter.