In Poland, some of the biggest tablet makers are the ones you've never heard of

Summary:Forget the iPad. In Poland, nearly half of all tablets are sold by companies whose names may be far from familiar.

Apple may rule the tablet world, but the Cupertino outfit is just a marginal player in Poland.

According to IDC, Apple leads the tablet market with a 32.4 percent share of global sales, but in Poland, the iPad only accounts for 5.5 percent of the slate market and is surpassed by Acer, with a 5.8 percent market share in the country. (Globally, Acer's market share is one-10th of Apple's at 3.1 percent.)

As with smartphones , Poles seem to value price over global brand prestige when buying their tablets.

Polish broadsheet newspaper Rzeczpospolita notes that Poles are pragmatic in their choice of tablet maker, as by far the most successful tablet brands are those that typically get lumped together in tablet sales league tables under the 'other manufacturers' category. (Companies dubbed 'other' are often those with a low single digit market share — and which aren't Apple, Samsung,  Asus, Lenovo, or Acer.)

Combined, 'other' tablet makers account for 44.9 per cent of the Polish tablet market, according to IDC stats for the third quarter of this year. In itself, that may only be slightly higher than the 38 percent market share these 'other' tablet makers hold worldwide, but the largest of them is surpassing Lenovo in market share. GoClever, for example, holds 3.7 per cent of the market, compared to Lenovo's two percent.

How? Since last year, the GoClever's seven-inch A73 tablet has been available at Biedronka, the largest discount supermarket chain in the country. The price is a key selling point - 299 zloty (around €75), down from its original price of 369 zloty, or €90) – and appears to be enough to get Polish consumers to forgive the not-too-stellar specs (512 MB of RAM, 4GB storage) and none too flattering reviews. GoClever's 10-inch Tab R974.2 can be bought for around 700 zloty (€170), bringing with it1GB of RAM, 1.6Mhz dual-core processor and 14GB storage to boot.

But the Polish outfit is not the only one active in the market. Companies with names like Asbis (Cyprus based), ABC Data (German) and NTT System (Polish), Lark (Polish, not to be confused with the Mountain View startup), Modecom (Polish) and Manta (Polish) are very present. Most of them had traditionally been (and to some extent still are) makers of affordable GPS systems, and have been moved on to churning out tablets which are friendly to the Polish market. "Our goal was to sell 100,000 units this year," Bogdan Wicinski, CEO of Manta, told Rzeczpospolita this week. "Considering the market performance for the first nine months of this year, we might well go over that.”

Like consumers in the West, Poles are buying tablets in increasing numbers. According to London-based market researcher Context, tablets sales are on track to double this year. In 2012, 880,000 tablets were sold in Poland, while almost the same number were sold in the first half of this year alone — 700,000.

Samsung is the largest single tablet seller in the country, while Android-based tablets account for more than 40 percent of the Polish market.

Further reading

Topics: Tablets, EU, Hardware


Michiel van Blommestein is a Dutch journalist who has been living in Poland since 2010. He worked as a technology journalist in the Netherlands before moving to Poland to work as a regular correspondent for various news outlets. He still loves the bits and bytes though.

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