Find: Q1 2012 -- apple grows to a 70% share, overall market down after Xmas

Apple first, then samsung, amazon, lenovo, b&n. 

Ars Technica

The overall tablet market is suffering despite Apple's strong numbers when it comes to iPad sales. Released Thursday, IDC's quarterly report on the tablet market shows a steep decline in worldwide tablet shipments during the first quarter of 2012—a 38.4 percent unit decline to 17.4 million units from the previous quarter's 28.2 million units. This was actually lower than IDC's already pessimistic projection of a 34 percent decline. But when it comes to Apple, things are dandy. The company grew its market share from 54.7 percent in Q4 2011 to 68 percent in the most recent quarter.

The first quarter of the calendar year usually results in a decline in unit sales from the previous quarter due to the holiday season rush to buy gadgets. Apple wasn't completely immune to this market force—IDC says the company shipped 11.8 million iPads during the first quarter of the year, down from 15.4 million units over the holiday season. Despite this drop, Apple's share of the tablet market was able to shoot up more than 14 percentage points between quarters, largely because of the precipitous decline in tablet sales from the likes of Amazon. According to IDC, Amazon's share of the tablet market with the Kindle Fire was 16.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, but fell to just 4 percent in the first quarter of 2012.

These numbers place Apple in first place, Samsung in second, and Amazon in third. Lenovo came in fourth place, while Barnes & Noble's Nook came in fifth.

"Apple's move to position the iPad as an all-purpose tablet, instead of just a content consumption device, is resonating with consumers as well as educational and commercial buyers. And its decision to keep a lower-priced iPad 2 in the market after it launched the new iPad in March seems to be paying off as well," IDC's Research Director of Mobile Connected Devices Tom Mainelli said in a statement. "It seems some of the mainstream Android vendors are finally beginning to grasp a fact that Amazon, B&N, and Pandigital figured out early on. Namely, to compete in the media tablet market with Apple, they must offer their products at notably lower price points."

Indeed, the Android tablet market has struggled for some time to find its place, only to be dominated by the $199 Kindle Fire upon its initial launch last year. But even those don't appear to be selling that well at the moment, according to IDC's own numbers. IDC seems optimistic, however, that there will be some bounce-back from both existing and new players. "The worldwide tablet market is entering a new phase in the second half of 2012 that will undoubtedly reshape the competitive landscape," IDC Vice President of Clients and Displays Bob O'Donnell said.

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