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Apple still top for slab-fondlers despite FLOOD of Xmas tablets

Samsung up, ereaders down in IDC quarterly figures - IDC

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Apple is still riding clear at the top of the global tablet market, though it has lost 8 per cent of its share of sales since the same time last year. Its tablet rivals, meanwhile, experienced triple-digit growth compared to the final quarter of 2011.

This is according to the latest stats from IDC, which showed Samsung and ASUS making impressive gains.

Apple shipped 22.9 million iPads in the Christmas quarter of 2012, up 5.8 million on the year before, which is a healthy 34 per cent rise, according to the statistics that measure sales to channel.

But the iPad actually lost some market share - holding just 44 per cent of the tablet market this Christmas rather than the 52 per cent that it had the Christmas before. Apple slipped 2 per cent from its figures in Q3, when the iPad accounted for 46 per cent of all tabs shipped.

The rapid expansion of the tablet market - up 75.3 percent from a year ago - makes the quarterly figures happy reading for all the key players - except Barnes & Noble, whose Nook ereader shipments dropped 27 percent.

Trailing far behind in second place was Samsung, which took 15 per cent of the market. But Samsung did experience 263 per cent year-on-year growth, shipping nearly 8 million combined Android and Windows 8 tablets during the quarter. Amazon was third and ASUS posted an 403 per cent increase in sales, to ship 3.1 million tablets largely due to the Google-branded Nexus tab that it manufactures, and took 6 per cent of the market.

Tom Mainelli, research director of the Tablets division at IDC compared the rosy outlook in the tablet sector to the grim news for PCs:

The record-breaking quarter stands in stark contrast to the PC market, which saw shipments decline during the quarter for the first time in more than five years.

Microsoft entered the market during the quarter with its Surface, but failed to reach the top five after shipping just under 900,000 units into the channel, according to IDC. Of course, rival beancounter IHS iSuppli came up with a larger figure - but it's still not that far away.

Interestingly, ereaders took a bit of a bashing, with the Kindle from Amazon increasing sales slightly from 4.7 million last year to 6 million this year but losing market share - from 16 per cent down to 12 this Christmas. The Barnes & Noble Nook sold only 1 million this quarter, down from 1.4 million a year ago. ®

IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Shipments, Jan 31 2013

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