Nov 05 AT 9:44 AM Nick Gray 40 Comments

IDC: Apple’s tablet dominance falters as Samsung’s market share surges


There’s no denying that Apple is still the leader in the tablet segment, but according to the latest figures from the IDC, Android OEMs are giving Apple a run for its money. In the third quarter, Apple’s tablet market share shrunk to 50.4%, down from 65.5% in Q2. Over the same time period, Samsung managed to grow its sales to 5.1 million units, increasing its market share to 18.4% – a 115% increase from Q2.

Unfortunately, Android’s gains in Q3 may be muted by Apple’s launch of the iPad Mini. Analysts seem to think that Apple’s smaller iPad will help the company regain a bit of momentum, but the $329 starting price may actually play in Android’s favor. Consumers seem to agree that $199 is the perfect price for a 7-inch tablet like the Kindle Fire or the Nexus 7.

How much longer will we have to wait until Android will dominate the tablet sector?


3Q12 Shipments

3Q12 Market Share

3Q11 Shipments

3Q11 Market Share

3Q12/3Q11 Growth

1. Apple






2. Samsung












4. Asus






5. Lenovo












All Vendors






Source: IDC

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. Nick joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • Ardrid

    In before the pundits give the usual tired excuse of people simply waiting for the iPad 4 or the iPad Mini to explain away Apple’s sales decline. Once again, nice to see Android tablets starting to move units. Can’t wait to see next quarters numbers with the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10.

    • clearzero

      What sales decline? Apple continues to sell more and more ipads. The overall market is growing. Apple just announced that they sold 3 million ipads in the last 3 days. Those 2 Nexus products may do that in 3 months.

      • redraider133

        The difference is a lot of those buying ipads already had an ipad before. It is not necessarily having new customers purchase their tablets which is not the case with android tablets. They used to be overpriced and not that good and then google came out with the nexus 7&10 which i think many were waiting for a solid android tablet and if they did not like the nexus 7 they can go for the nexus 7

      • mitcoes

        Early adopters use to buy Apple no matter the cost.

        Normal people buy the cheaper, and Android beats 5 to 1 in market share in phones.

        In tablets with a small market, when it will grow Apple will stay at his 15% as with OSX and IOS phones.

        If the cheap an good tablet CUBE U3GT 10.1 where the “Apple cheap” everybody would be speaking about it, but probably costing around 200 USD do not need the Apple fan to be one of the best selled this season.

        As MS-DOS beated IBM-DOS and MS-WOS OS/2 and OSX, Android will beat Apple and MS CLOSED ecosystem because there are a lot of brands making and selling it, not only one.

    • Raptor

      Great, but do not forget that your money spent on foreign tablet or phone support and create jobs overseas and not just make competitors to US tech but take also dollars from american hi-tech.

      • Raptor

        remember that for the rest of your life

      • Kindroid

        Wow…I didn’t know that Apple products were manufactured in the USA. I am going to buy all Apple.

        • Raptor

          moron, Apple pays China only $10 from each phone, it gets $300 profit. That profit gets eventually to US even though a half being kept abroad. That money create and support US jobs. Each of Apple 50K employees employs keeps 8 people employed, do the math, F grade dumbo

          • Duh


            Apple pays $10 to Foxxconn, and it makes $300 profit which goes to 0.0001% of the share holder. It may or may not distribute back to US economy. You are assuming that you do not know for certain.

  • bob

    LMFAO, it seems that the only idiots buying IOS products anymore are old people, morons, sheep, retards and little girls who don’t know any better and still think it’s “cool” to have an Apple product even though now people are laughing behind their back for still buying that garbage. Hahaha. Poor itards

    • Nick Gray

      While I may not like Apple products, I definitely wouldn’t insult people who do. I’ve owned an Android tablet for more than a year now, but rarely use it because there are simply no compelling apps for the platform. While Android tablets may be cheaper and arguably better than Apple’s offerings, the one thing that’s still missing on Android is a great selection of applications for large screen devices.

      Even if Android’s market share in the tablet space grows, Apple will still have a more compelling tablet ecosystem for consumers until developers start creating tablet optimized versions of their apps.

      • shadhussain

        while i totally understand why ppl go for ipads over android tablets, i.e., mainly because of the app eco-system and overall industrial design, i’m more interested to know how the average user uses a tablet and how many apps (not games) are actually useful on a tablet.

        i am not trying to defend the lack of tablet-optimized apps on android, but i find that my tablet acts as a laptop replacement 90% of the time. i use mostly chrome for all web needs, with some essential google services, music (i.e., gmusic, songza), data sync tools (dropbox, box), document and photo editting apps running. in a perfect world i guess the chrome browser wud be powerful enough to run any website and web apps u wud need. i say this because i frankly do not see the need of a expedia tablet optimized app when the full website would be more useful.

    • vote Matt Rooney

      Android tablets are for bums, ipads are for people with jobs who work hard

      • Zyo

        I wouldn’t waste my hard earned money on a 329 tablet without GPS and low res screen.

  • Nate B.

    In time my friends, in time.

  • David

    What tablets does Samsung even make? Is this a non-US phenomenon? I hear about the nexus 7 and kindle fire. Haven’t seen a Samsung tablet around.

    • Nick Gray

      That’s a joke, right? Samsung has the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, Tab 2 7.0 and Note 10.1 – all of which are listed as the top selling Android tablets at Best Buy.

    • shadhussain

      samsung tablets happen to be front, left and center in almost all the brick & mortar stores here in canada and at first glance offers the only competition to the ipad. i often wonder where the nex7 is hiding. most stores somehow still carry the 1st gen asus transformer as well.

      the power of samsung marketing (almost matches apple these days) cannot be understated. it is simply amazing that those samsung tablets end up moving as many units as they do, because from a pure usage point of view of any new potential non-techie tablet user they are laggy, cluttered and lack any aesthetic appeal.

      • ionorov

        Good luck man, incoming downvotes for stating the truth :)

        Here in Australia, they’re the only ones marketing their tablets. Can’t remember ever seeing any other Android tablet commercial. They’ve pretty much became the anti-apple flag bearers.

        I do agree with you on the lagginess. Played around with earlier tabs and was just put off by it. I think its better now but recently played around with a couple of Note 10.1s: one was ok on the handwriting part…. The other was a complete lag fest.

        Oh yeah, I’m typing this from my ipad, so feel free to down vote me too. I’ll cry over it whilst reading from my tab 7.7. Lol.

      • Homncruse

        “the power of samsung marketing (almost matches apple these days) cannot be understated. it is simply amazing that those samsung tablets end up moving as many units as they do”

        True story. Samsung does a fantastic job of marketing. It’s why they’re the top-grossing Android manufacturer. Their devices aren’t necessarily any more stellar than the equivalent offering from HTC, Motorola, etc. I’m glad I’m not the only one who can see through the Samsung marketing. Every time I say something negative about Samsung (no matter how constructive), I’m downvoted to oblivion.

  • Jorge Vieira

    I think that it will be about 2 years and android will overtake apple in market share.

    • Simon Holland Flarup

      Not 2 years, at the end of next year, you will see… Thanks to Nexus 7 and 10 + Amazones tablet.

      • Rodd

        i agree..
        i don’t think it’s gonna take nearly as long for Android tablets to overtake Apple tablets in units sold, as the time it took for Android phones to overtake Apple phones

        its obvious the introduction of the iPad mini is Apple’s panic reaction to the popularity of the Nexus 7

      • lrq

        Maybe Nexus tablets will hit 20M sales next year. In 2012 3rd quarter, ASUS sold 2M (more or less) Nexus 7. And I assume it is a good performance to Android pad.

    • Marcus Atrocius, Rome

      Market share doesnt matter, profits do.
      I remember the days when MacOS X had a ms of 3 per cent, and yet they raked in US-$ billions….

      • shadhussain

        the market will drive innovation and dictate what stays and what goes. but why should *any* consumer care about multi-billion dollar corporations fattening their profit margins? ur point is only valid if u own shares in those companies.

        • clearzero

          Why should they care about market share? It’s all ridiculous! People shouldn’t need exterior validation for their purchases.

          • shadhussain

            i couldn’t agree with you more! my point probably got misconstrued, i was focusing more on the profiteering aspect of the previous comment.

      • Duh

        If the android tablets aren’t eating the market shares, apple ipad would have gotten those as well.

        So, it does impact their total profits as well.

  • Simon Holland Flarup

    A little off topic, but does Google Play have more Apps than App store? Just read that Google Play reached over 700.000 apps, and then surpassed App store’s number.

    • clearzero

      I don’t think so but they are close. The overall number doesn’t matter anyway. If they have what you want, cool. If they don’t, buy a different phone.

  • droilfade

    It’s the right time to interest developers in building tablet specific apps. It’s surprising that even huge companies- facebook, twitter and developers like spotify, rdio etc have not made tablet apps for android. What is holding them back? Support? Market share? Hardware? The products are there, the hardware is there, and the market is there!
    To truly dominate you should be able to sell the services with the product (Not the Amazon ads kind, but the apps kind). Then I can use more apps than just splashtop on my tablet.


      I feel like its a lot easier to build a tablet specific app for iOS simply because they have standard resolutions. Android was late to the game with tablets and so far their sizes seem to be all over the place, which is why its so important to see the nexus devices coming out. Once developers see that people are buying these tablets and people are clamoring for tablet optimized apps, the devs will not see it as a waste of time to develop a tablet optimized app. So I think soon we will be seeing a lot more android tablet apps coming our way

  • ionorov

    Don’t know if Android will dominate. Maybe in the 7 inch segment, with the Nexus 7 gaining more steam going into the holidays.

    For the 10 inch category, Apple has a good grip… with only Asus and Samsung posing any serious challenge. They’re the only ones offering something different (TF keyboard dock and Note’s S-pen). The rest are just pale imitations of the iPad.

    Microsoft is the real spanner in the works here.

    Surface RT and the like are stop-gap measures that probably won’t trouble the iPad at all, no matter how much Microsoft promotes Office RT. Still, they’ll likely eat into Android’s market share in the 10 inch segment.

    The bigger problem is the full Windows 8, and the coming crop of x86 tablets. Now those are aimed/designed at productivity. Simple things like Office, backwards compatibility with x86 programs and the note-taking/active-stylus features will be just killer, IMO.

    Ipads are primarily marketed as consumption devices, though that does not stop people trying to be productive on it (like me). Android could have swooped in and offered ipad features with productivity benefits but alas, Google and the makers just did not see it in time.

    Imagine a combined Transformer Note. An active stylus to take hand-written notes, plus a kick-ass dock. That’s what Android is still horribly lacking in… and that is what MS and Intel are going to offer very very soon.

    I’m an Android fan… but it’ll be a tough fight. One I’m not sure Android will win.

    • Homncruse

      A combined Transformer Note would be the *perfect* tablet device for a college student.

    • Raptor

      Give me light and thin Win8 x86 13.6″ (full A4 page format) with 4k resolution no bezel tablet and MAY BE i am in.

      Otherwise i do not care about tablets even for free. Phablets like GNote2 do the 99% of tablets jobs beautifully. And i an not even mentioning future 1080p ones.

      • droilfade

        Why would you want a “no bezel” tablet? How would you hold it? You will miss a part of the movie…lol!

  • Kindroid

    Optimized tablet apps have not been an issue up this point. I have had my Nexus 7 for about 3 months now. It is a travel companion to keep up with text, emails, google +, music and video streaming and surfing the net. I have found suitable apps for all the things I want to do. Most are phone apps that scale fine. They don’t maximize every square inch of the screen….but they still provide all the functionality I need. In fact, some of the optimized news apps I prefer without all the collage of glossy looking photos and punchy headlines. When I am surfing my news feeds….just give me headlines that inform. If I want the optimized experience I can still go to Flipboard or Pulse.

  • h0ruza

    Time for the Dev’s to step up and make the platform sing. The user base has arrived :)

  • melan26

    I am actually still rooting for Nokia, they were good years ago. Now, not so much, but I am still hoping they can make a come back.