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

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

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


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

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Tablets, Tech Industry

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  • Then why is web usage down?

    Down a bit for iOS and it has fallen off the earth for Android.I personally think the channel is very full of tablets (both iPad and especially "others") and the next quarter will be a bad quarter for tablets.

    And yes, I am a believer in tablets but usage is down compared to desktops.
    • Not true...

      There are now 2 conflicting reports...

      1 shows iOS with more and the other Shows Android with double and growing.

      Truth is, we will never know but, pretty much every post I make on here is from Android.
      • No report shows Android tablet usage > iOS.

        That simple slick. Web usage from tablets when compared to other desktop OSes is down for April. IDC/Gartner/NDP reports are little more than garbage with made up data depending on what company commishend the report.

        And NetMarketShare provide much better insight into what is going on. StatCounter is nice because it does not weight data and provides region/date information for free. Likewise, it has a much larger network.

        The issue is actual tablet usage is falling with Android simply plummeting having lost 30-40% in a single month. iPad usage is also down but not as drastically as Android. This data does not jibe with reports of PC market collapse and MS's recent earnings. Given the choice of real data VS pipe dream data made up by people that have been mostly wrong in the past, I will take the real data.
        • @ Bruizer

          Thats because there are only 4 companies that makes money off of tablets - from hardware sales, from app sales and from mobile web subscriptions. And these are in the top-to-down order: Apple, Samsung (using Google services), Amazon and Microsoft (surprise!!).

          Pricing devices high while giving equivalent functionality while on device or through cloud ecosystem explains Apple's, Amazon's and Microsoft's success in making money.

          And the others - almost all are Android OEMs - make breakeven margins or actually lossy margins. Because none does commerce (using apps or mobile web) using their devices. Which also explains why mobile browsing share is starting to decline.

          Another factor is the takeover of the tablet market by the 7" formfactor device. These devices are not suitable for extended mobile web browsing durations unlike 10"/11"/PC formfactor devices (except for iPad).

          Data regression should show interesting conclusions. Like this -
          - Android tablet OEMs will not survive the market not withstanding the price declines
          - Windows detachables may have a market presence if they replace notebook PCs but this is an if
          - Only iPad (and iPhone) provides real competition to a traditional Windows PC in terms of functional usage; Samsung Galaxy may take 25% of the mobile market profits but they sell based on hardware and Google Play game sales only; mobile web browsing is immaterial to their success; which also implies that Google will not make much money off of mobile web advertising by corollary
          • What have you been smoking?

            @calahan said: "Only iPad (and iPhone) provides real competition to a traditional Windows PC in terms of functional usage"

            I think you meant to say that Only Windows 8 tablets provide real competition to a traditional Windows PC in terms of functional usage... Even my Windows Phone has more functionality than an iPad (or iPhone).

            iPads are just toys... face it...
            Bill Reilly
          • Loser

            Lets deny 10's of millions of people their (iPad) UseCase simply because it doesn't fit with my "reality". Now that is the Oxford definition of a loser in any language.
          • @ paddle

            I included the iPad if you read well. I think it sells a lot (or dominates the marketshare) due to functionality.

            I have been called names before. Loser was not one among them. Time to add it to list.
          • correction

            My note was directed @Bill (Loser) Reilly, not @calahan
          • @ Bill Reilly

            Windows 8 tablets and Windows 8 detachables are yet to see decent marketshare and usage stats.

            Windows 8 PCs without touchscreen are what we see in the market now. And Windows phones are the new share gaining devices.
        • Re: No report shows Android tablet usage > iOS.

          Which would seem just as trustworthy as "no report shows Android phone usage > IOS".
  • Calling Lovedog Rabidson!

    Don't the Dimdows fanbois keep insisting tablets are nothing but a fad? (Alternating between that and insisting that Microsoft will dominate them regardless.)
    • Dimdows? Lovedog Rabidson?

      Are you 4-years old?

      Grow up.
    • Calling Idol17 Rabidude

      Nice try - So you fanbois keep dwelling on some statement that someone made that "tablets are nothing but a fad", but we understand that it's a nice way to not have to acknowledge the fact that MS went from nothing to 5th largest tablet vendor in such a short period.(Alternating between that and insisting that Microsoft will be dead in 6 months regardless.)
      William Farrel
      • Re: MS went from nothing to 5th largest

        Ah, the ironies of that: from being the undisputed king, to gunning to remain one of the top three, and now being satisfied with making it into the top five.

        Presumably in the next quarter they'll be thanking their lucky stars they were still able to scrape into the top ten.

        And what after that?
  • Re: units shipped

    So, how many sold?
    • Good Question

      Where do they get these numbers? How can they know how many were shipped?

      One might think Apple's pipeline is more sparse and that sales are closer to shipped, but all these numbers are guesstimates, a fact that the journalists never mention.

      19.5 million is the number that Apple reported sold for the quarter. Is IDC mixing in oranges with these apples?
  • why was microsoft even given a color in the legend

    There's absolutely nothing on the chart! I guess it was to make an embarassing point.
    • DrWong, it appears you need glasses

      There are clearly two red areas on the chart.

      Or were you trying to make a funny? ;)
      William Farrel
  • IDC: Tablets surged worldwide in Q1; 'Have shown no sign of slowing down'

    IDC must have some bad data or are pulling data out of thin air. I would like to know where all these tablets are because I'm not seeing them. I see one or two in the public but that's about it. If the tablet sector was growing as fast as they would like us to believe then I should be seeing a lot more. Even at the local Best Buy people are just walking by them and going over to the laptops and PCs. Manufacturers are building these tablets faster than consumers are buying them and that is why it appears tablets are growing. A little bit of manipulation on IDC's part. Soon the manufacturers will realize their mistake and tablet production will decrease dramatically.
    • Are you serious?!

      Are you really comparing your perception with a probably solid study?!
      Anyway your perception must be confined to a very tiny area, I'm sure it's quite obvious that tablet market are growing for at least 90% of mortals.