Fourth quarter worldwide shipments of media tablets such as the iPad from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) grew 155% year-over-year and 56% sequentially, according to the latest data from International Data Corp. (IDC). For the full year, tablet shipments totaled 68.7 million units, of which 28.2 million (41%) were shipped in the fourth quarter.
For the fourth quarter, Apple shipped 15.4 million units and Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) shipped 4.7 million of its Kindle Fire units. Apple leads with 54.7% share, followed by Amazon with 16.8% share. Apple’s share fell sequentially from 61.5% according to IDC data. Samsung Electronics (OTC: SSNLF.PK) grew share year-over-year to 5.8% and Barnes and Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS), makers of the Nook device, saw its market share slip from 4.5% a year ago to 3.5% in the 2011 fourth quarter. In fifth place is Pandigital with 2.5% share.
From the IDC report:
Based upon the markets’ strong 2011 finish, and the clear demand expected in 2012, IDC has increased its 2012 forecast to 106.1 million units, up from its previous forecast of 87.7 million units.
The Android operating system from Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) grew its market share sequentially from 32.3% to 44.6%, due largely to the Kindle Fire which uses a customized version of Android. Apple’s iOS still leads, however, with 54.7% share. That doesn’t leave much room for any other players, which explains why the BlackBerry from Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) garnered a mere 0.7% share. IDC expects Android to continue growing its share at Apple’s expense, and reckons that Android will be the operating system leader by 2015.
IDC expects Apple to continue leading in revenue share through the 2016 end of the forecast period “and beyond.” Apple’s lead in the part of the market that really counts is essentially unassailable. Amazon and the others are likely going to have to fight it out at the low end of the market.