iPad-led tablet boom benefits everyone but Acer

iPad-led tablet boom benefits everyone but Acer

Summary: Apple, Samsung and Asus have all seen growth in shipments and market share over the last year, but IDC figures indicate a much tougher fight for Acer

TOPICS: Tablets, Apple, iPad, Mobility

Worldwide tablet shipments increased by two-thirds over the last year, with the market booming for most but not all major manufacturers, statistics from IDC have shown.

The analyst house said on Thursday that around 25 million tablets shipped in the second quarter of this year, 66 percent up from around 15 million in the corresponding quarter last year. Unsurprisingly, the figures show Apple's iPads to be far in the lead, with 17 million tablets shipped in the quarter for a 68.2-percent market share — up from 9.2 million tablets and a 61.5-percent share a year earlier.

Apple iPad
Worldwide tablet shipments increased by two-thirds over the last year. Image credit: CNET News

"Apple built upon its strong March iPad launch and ended the quarter with its best-ever shipment total for the iPad, outrunning even the impressive shipment record it set in the fourth quarter of last year," IDC research director Tom Mainelli said in a statement.

Mainelli pointed out that the iPad was getting increasing amounts of interest from vertical markets such as education. He added that a slight slowdown in iPad growth in mature markets was being offset by "growth in other regions".

Samsung also saw growth: sales up from 1.1 million to 2.4 million, and market share up from 7.3 percent to 9.6 percent.

Amazon now has five percent of the market with its Kindle Fire — given that the device is so far only available in the US, this shows yet again just how successful it is there. Annual growth cannot be calculated, as the device only came out just before Christmas.

Asus saw moderate growth, with shipments more than doubling to reach 855,000 units in Q2, for a 3.4-percent share. That share is likely to be much bigger next time round, given the launch of the Nexus 7.

However, Acer's shipments dropped from 629,000 to 385,000, and its market share fell from 4.2 percent to 1.5 percent.

Competitive market

IDC did not address this fall, but the firm did note that the market was about to become even more competitive with the imminent launch of the Kindle Fire's successor, Windows 8 tablets and probably another iPad. It also seemed to suggest that Apple would benefit from increased competition.

"If anything, there's a real risk that people will have too many options from which to choose this holiday season," IDC vice president Bob O'Donnell said. "Consumers baffled by the differences between Amazon and Google versions of Android, or Windows 8 and Windows RT, may well default to market leader Apple. Or they may simply choose to remain on the sideline for another cycle."

Topics: Tablets, Apple, iPad, Mobility

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • I own an a500 it was cheap but

    when you are charging and working with it you can hear some weird noise, can't properly play Videos, its appearance completely inferior to iPad and worst of all it is completely LOCKED DOWN and for using custom ROMs acer may break your device, can you f*ing believe it?
    i wouldn't buy another acer tab!
    • I could get custom roms on, but it still sucked

      as a general rule I never buy or recommend acer to anyone, but a $300 a500 suckered me in. at the time android tablets were 450+ for 9 inch models.

      it sucked. bad. loaded with crapware, apps crashed constantly. gps did not work. got some custom roms on and while they helped a little with crashing apps it was still bad and the gps never worked, even when outside with a clear sky. it was so awful I sold it after a month. never acer again. ever. lesson pounded into my head.

      android not for awhile. maybe. the lack of long term support for devices and fragmentation kinda sucks. looking at apps that only work on certain devices really put me off too.
  • I also own an Acer Iconia A500

    I bought it roughly a year ago. I would say it is decent tablet. ICS smoothed things out a bit and if they put Jelly Bean/4.1 on it, I think it will likely be even better. There are a few rough edges with it (seems to lose Wifi settings at startup periodically) and also seems like maybe it could be a bit more responsive at times (again, I think Jelly Bean could help with this). Initially there were BIG problems with Flash, but that seems to have settled down about 6 months ago (and there are STILL Flash ONLY sites out there with no HTML5 equivalent, for anyone at Android/Adobe/Acer out there listening, PLEASE DON'T LET FLASH DIE ANY TIME SOON).
    ICS came to these devices in May, I think Acer getting 4.1 will be a deciding factor for as to whether I will purchase another Acer product down the road. If Acer fails to do it (or at least announce it) soon, I willy likely just put a JellyBean ROM on it myself (one of the great benefits of the Android devices) as with the year warranty nearly up, I have little reason to not go my own way if Acer decides not to move their devices forward. I have to say I use the tablet a decent amount instead of my bigger laptop.
  • It's called diversification...

    ...all the big component makers have to do it to live. Acer makes lots of different products. In some things you are successful, in other things you are not.

    Even Apple is not successful in everything- how much of the computer market (not to be confused with mobile devices) does Apple hold? Not much.

    Samsung makes all sorts of appliances and electronic components/screens. Even if they stopped making tablets, Samsung would still be a successful company. If Acer stopped making tablets, I would imagine they would still be fine- monitors aren't going away any time soon, projectors certainly not, and same with many of the other products they produce. Of course, Samsung's advantage is that even if they stopped producing tablets, they make components for tablets. I could be mistaken, but Acer does not.
  • OS wise, yes, hardware wise, No

    Apple actually does fairly well in the PC/laptop market (not counting tablets) when you compare them with other hardware OEMs. It's only when you look at OS marketshare that their share looks miniscule.

    A little off topic, but...

    That being said, I think with tablets, it comes down to companies that go "all in" vs. those that do it to keep up with the Jones'. Acer just seems like they're doing it because they feel they have to vs. actually wanting to. Tablets are more of a discretionary purchase at this point, so it's a softer market (even if it is growing) than PCs.
    • Agreed

      Agreed, ACER, Toshiba, and to a lesser extent Sony and Lenovo seem like they've released Android tablets just to have something "out there" to build upon in case the market catches fire.

      ASUS and Samsung seem to be the guys who most feel there's real potential for Android to pay off, and are thus pushing the platform pretty hard.

      I have a feeling that some of these guys are pretty certain of two things:

      1) Apple is never going to let someone else play the iOS hardware game
      2) The post-PC era doesn't necessarily mean the end of Wintel PCs, but it does mean that a significant number of consumers are going to opt for a tablet instead of a second PC 9and in some cases as their only non-cellphone computing device)

      So if the OEM harware manufacturers want to stay in the game, they've got to either make Android work, or hope and pray that Windows RT gains some traction.

      Whatever happens, these are interesting times, I think we can all agree.
  • I like my W500

    I bough a W500 to play with Windows 8. I added a 120GB SSD and I use it half the time as a tablet and half the time as a netbook. I think it runs Windows 8 very well. It is kind of a fat dumpy Microsoft Surface.
  • What is interesting to me...

    What I find interesting is the sell through rate for the Galaxy tab 2 7" and the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus... those puppies seem to fly off local store shelves (price is a likely factor but features count as well).
    • If'n

      If'n Samsung drops a Tegra 3 into the next 7" G-Tab and they keep the MicroSD slot, I could even see myself getting one of those over the Nexus 7 when I decide to upgrade from my HTC Flyer (sometime next year).
  • They're in the mix somewhere...

    Nice timely article, Mr. Meyer! The Amazon results revealing US success helped give me some insight why my hoped for post Nexus/pre-Fire2 deep Kindle Fire discount has not yet emerged. (Although I can get a fire-sale priced Kindle reader, provided I facilitate compulsive Amazon shopping with a new Amazon credit card.)
    Meanwhile though, please tell me what IDC had to say bout them "China tabs". I'm sure a legion of commissioned big box salespeople and net vendors of questionable repute would like to know!
    • Follow up

      Just saw the IDC press release. "Others" have only about half their previous market share as this time last year, but have not lost as much ground as Acer in comparison. Still, it would be interesting to see that group detailed to see if there is a diamond in the rough.
  • Not surprised

    As recently as a year ago, Acer was confused over the future direction of the company. The founder called the tablet (iPad) market a fad market. The CEO and president at the time, Gianfranco Lanci, suddenly resigned after clashing with the board over the future direction. I guess for these guys building tablets is much harder tasks than what they're used to before, pushing out mediocre netbooks in the market.
  • Trying Harder...

    I truly wish that the iPad competition was trying harder. Every review I read of non-Apple hardware in this space seems to make apologies for the things they did that aren't quite as good an an iPad. (scrolling, build quality, seamlessness of the upgrade experience, and on and on).

    Everyone seems to be competing with Apple on the basis of almost, kinda, sorta similar performance / device / experience, all for cheaper. When is someone seriously try to do BETTER than Apple? And, I don't just mean by adding some feature here or there, but building something that is just overall, in every way, blowout superior to what Cupertino has.

    Because, until that happens, Apple really isn't going to have real competition, are they?
  • Acer Put Too Much Emphasis on Windows Tablets, Not Enough On Android

    Guess which ones customers prefer to buy?
  • I disagree

    I completely disagree with this premise. The tablet "innovation" is a joke. It "seems" to be a benifit and IS for Apple because they did it right. The rest of the industry is saddled with Android which is a pitiful excuse for an OS. Plus consumers are fairly ignorant and purchase according to price. They see these tablets as replacements for computers for a fraction of the price and dump their new PC puchases for a tablet. This has DRASTICALLY hurt PC sales. When consumers finally awaken to the realization that they have nothing more than an internet connected gaming device that runs simplistic games they will NOT abandon the idea that they should be able to get a "computer" for a couple of hunrdred bucks. Oh and they also want 24/7 support from a US based location. Gee guess what NO ONE will be able to provide that. Sure we'll all sell a few tablets but meanwhile we'll kill off an industry that we need WAY more than yet another platform to play games on.
    • A $499 iPad costs the same as a consumer Windows PC

      The people that are replacing their PCs with iPads (or other tablets) are not spending less money. Instead, they are merely replacing their PCs with a device that does not provide them with capabilities they don't need or want.

      I suspect that most iPad buyers are NOT replacing PCs but instead are buying iPad for when they don't need a PC. Of these many are buying Android tablets instead of the iPad.

      I suspect that this will be more apparent when the Microsoft "Surface RT" and "Surface 8 Pro" devices go onto the market.
      M Wagner
  • Consumers benefit from more competition - not Apple

    Moving forward, Apple's main competition will be Microsoft. Unless the "Surface RT" is a total flop, Apple will have stiff competition in the $600 to $900 range.

    If this comes to pass, Android makers may be tempted to jump-ship for the greener pastures of Windows RT devices, which will most assuredly sell for more that the $199 to $249 that most Android tablet makers can hope to make these days.
    M Wagner
    • Compare the tablet market to pc market in 80's

      Apple just like the PC's of the 80's is the grabbing the home market. Yes they have a presence in business to for email but integration business systems hasn't been done yet. Microsoft is attempting this. Microsoft is betting on integration with business systems will push the home market just as it did in PC's. They are getting into their own branded hardware to push the market. Google will not let Android go away either but I think there is room for 3 players as long as Samsung keeps making android devices. The one factor thats different from the 80's is content. Content is a big part of why Apple is successfull. You buy an Ipad you bought their hardware, OS and buy software through the Apple store.

      the 3 players business models
      1. Android - Google OS multiple branded devices - Phones and tablets only
      2. Apple - Apple OS and Apple branded HW separate OS for PC's and Mobile devices largest app market controlled thru Apple Store
      3. MS - new to market Same OS all devices, Own branded hardware but I think only to jumpstart market Similar to android with other branded HW, new to app store but old software will run on the intel tablets. Minor player in mobile devices pre 2012
  • http://www.burnthebenjamin.com/

  • Not sure what direction Acer is moving

    They have mediocre tablets and not one laptop with a 1080P screen. I have an Acer AS 8950G laptop with 1920 x 1080 screen which was replaced with the AS 8951 which has been discontinued in the USA. It seems they are betting on the ultrabooks for the future. I'm waiting to see if they introduce expand their product line once Windows 8 is released.