Why Amazon's tablet share is poised to pop

Amazon's tablet market share surged in the third quarter, but an international roll-out and better Kindle Fire HD line-up should keep the gains rolling.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Amazon had 9 percent of the tablet market in the third quarter and further gains are likely as its Kindle Fire HD line-up starts shipping.

IDC's tablet share statistics highlight the following:

  • 27.8 million tablets shipped in the third quarter;
  • Apple shipped 14 million tablets, good for 50.4 percent market share;
  • Samsung's market share was 18.4 percent courtesy of the Galaxy Tab and Note;
  • Amazon's third quarter market share was 9 percent, up from 4.8 percent in the second quarter.
  • That last point is worth pondering. Amazon's market share surged because it began shipping the new 7-inch Kindle Fire HD late in the quarter. Those shipments were only in the U.S.
  • As Amazon starts shipping the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire in November, it'll have a full arsenal of tablets. It's highly likely that Amazon's market share will go double digits---say 12 percent to 15 percent.

Earlier: Apple sells 3 million iPads, iPad mini tablets in first weekend | IDC report: Tablet market grows nearly 50 percent, Apple loses iPad share | IDC: iPad retains tablet share crown, Android rapidly catching up


Here's why Amazon's tablet share is going dramatically higher:

  1. Amazon's Kindle Fire is going international. The e-commerce giant plans to roll out its tablet globally. The market reach is limited relative to Apple, but Amazon will have enough distribution to gain share.
  2. The promotion and distribution equation. Amazon can use its home page, its customer lists and recommendations to push the Kindle Fire HD. Amazon will also aggressively market its Kindle Fire HD relative to the iPad mini.
  3. Apple's iPad mini doesn't deliver a death blow. At $329 for the iPad mini, Amazon can pitch lower prices balanced with features and services. In other words, the iPad mini, iPad and Kindle Fire HD are likely to play to different audiences. 

What remains to be seen is whether Amazon can deliver a tablet product cadence that can support share gains throughout the year. Samsung and Apple are sure to keep devices coming and there will be a bevy of Windows 8 devices hitting the market.

Nevertheless, Amazon is likely to enjoy a market share pop in the fourth quarter.

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