IDC: Tablets surged worldwide in Q1; 'Have shown no sign of slowing down'

Apple continues to lead in global tablet shipments, but Samsung and Asus posted incredible growth annually.

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Things are looking up for the tablet market in a big way as the International Data Corporation reported a surge for the industry worldwide during the first quarter of 2013.

The market intelligence firm found that global tablet shipments grew by 142.4 percent year-over-year during Q1 with 49.2 million units.

Quite simply, analysts asserted that "tablets have shown no sign of slowing down."

The IDC's latest report on the tablet market sharply contrasts the one it published about the traditional PC industry a few weeks ago.

According to the April survey , worldwide PC shipments plunged by 14 percent during the first quarter of 2013, which was said to be the worst drop in a generation.

As for the tablet providers, Apple remained on top during Q1 with 19.5 million units shipped, which apparently surprised IDC analysts.

Tom Mainelli, a research director covering tablets at IDC, explained in the report that analysts left room while the world waits for the next iPad and iPad mini.

IDC analysts also highlighted growth for Microsoft, in particular, which entered the top five for the first time with nearly 900,000 units shipped.

Naturally, that's thanks to last fall's debut of Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets.

Acknowledging a bit of a struggle for Surface at the start, Ryan Reith, a program manager for IDC's Mobility Tracker program, explained a little bit more about where Microsoft might be headed next quarter:

Recent rumors have circulated about the possibility of smaller screen Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets hitting the market. However, the notion that this will be the saving grace is flawed. Clearly the market is moving toward smart 7-8 inch devices, but Microsoft's larger challenges center around consumer messaging and lower cost competition. If these challenges are addressed, along with the desired screen size variations, then we could see Microsoft make even further headway in 2013 and beyond.

A few other shining stars that IDC analysts didn't remark on much in the report were Samsung and Asus. Coming in second and third respectively, tablet manufacturers posted annual growth of 282.6 percent and 350 percent during the first quarter.

Chart via IDC

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