Apps & Software

Android Crushes Apple in Global Tablet Sales

Consumer electronics companies sold 195 million tablets last year. Unfortunately for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), which virtually invented the category, the share its iOS had of the global market dropped to 36% from 52% in 2012. The news shows how desperate Apple is for the next generation of iPad to be a hit.

As has been the trend for more than a year, Google Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android operating system captured the top of the market with a share of 62%, up from 46% in 2012. Microsoft Corp.’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) share continues to be negligible at 2%.

The success of Android has driven the success of Samsung, or perhaps it is the other way around. Samsung’s tablet market share last year was 19%, up from 7.4% in 2012. However, its piece of the market continues to trail Apple’s, which was 36%, although it plunged from 52% in 2012. Asus, Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Lenovo trail by such a great distance that it is likely none will be a force soon, if ever.

Apple’s lost ground means it must not only introduce a compelling version of its iPad. It must also pick up ground in the most fertile markets, especially China. Apple may not have the leverage with wireless companies in the People’s Republic that local vendor Lenovo has. Apple’s iPhone has relatively small market share in China. Its modest presence means the iPad cannot ride on the iPhone’s coattails as it has in the past.

The iPhone has lost ground over the past year, also because of lack of distribution in China, and the lack of new features that have not drawn consumers the way that earlier versions did. The iPad has started to suffer the same fate.

Worldwide Tablet Sales to End Users by Vendor, 2013 (Units)

Vendor

2013 Sales

2013 Market Share (%)

2012 Sales

2012 Market Share (%)

Apple

70,400,159

36.0

61,465,632

52.8

Samsung

37,411,921

19.1

8,583,146

7.4

ASUS

11,039,156

5.6

6,262,371

5.4

Amazon

9,401,846

4.8

7,707,800

6.6

Lenovo

6,525,762

3.3

2,186,993

1.9

Others

60,656,161

31.0

30,142,374

25.8

Total

195,435,004

100.0

116,348,317

100.0

Source: Gartner (February 2014)