Q4 2012 set a new record in terms of tablet sales. According to preliminary data from the IDC‘s Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, 52.5 million tablets were sold in the final quarter of the year. Q4’s sales witnessed a 74.3 percent increase over Q3 sales of 30.1 million units.
Sales were helped along by holiday shoppers who were anxious to pick up a new tablet and by a decrease in the average price for many top and middle-tier tablets.
According to Tom Mainelli, tablet research director at IDC:
“We expected a very strong fourth quarter, and the market didn’t disappoint. New product launches from the category’s top vendors, as well as new entrant Microsoft, led to a surge in consumer interest and very robust shipments totals during the holiday season.”
Apple was the big winner in Q4 2012 with 22.9 million units shipped, numbers that were largely helped along by the company’s iPad mini and fourth generation full-sized iPad tablets. Apple’s shipments were up by 48.1 percent compared to the same quarter one year earlier. While Apple sales increased, the company’s market share fell from 46.4 percent to 43.6 percent.
Samsung’s Android and Windows tablets were the big winners in Q4, shipping 8 million combined units for a company year-over-year increase of 263 percent. Samsung now holds a 15.1 percent market share, good enough for second place.
Amazon also moved a decent number of Amazon Kindle Fire devices with 6 million tablets sold, an increase from 8.3 percent to 11.5 percent. Amazon’s tablet growth year-over-year is believed to be a healthy 26.8 percent.
Barnes & Noble shipped nearly one million units for a share increase of 1.9 percent from 0.7 percent, B&N witnessed a drop of 27.7 percent year-over-year.
Microsoft finished in fifth place with just under one million Windows RT tablets shipped.
According to Ryan Reith, program manager, Mobile Device Trackers at IDC:
“There is no question that Microsoft is in this tablet race to compete for the long haul. However, devices based upon its new Windows 8 and Windows RT operating systems failed to gain much ground during their launch quarter, and reaction to the company’s Surface with Windows RT tablet was muted at best.”