SAN MATEO, USA: Worldwide tablet shipments grew to 47.6 million units in the third quarter of 2013 (3Q13) according to preliminary data from the International Data Corp. (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker.
While slightly below the firm's forecast, the number still represents seven percent QoQ growth and 36.7 percent growth compared to Q3, 2012. Android products once again drove much of the shipment growth in the market as iOS growth stalled and Windows tablets continued to struggle to win over consumers.
With no new iPad product launches in the Q2 or Q3 to drive volume, Apple experienced a QoQ decline in shipments from 14.6 million in 2Q13 to 14.1 million in 3Q13. Year over year, iPad shipments grew less than one percent.
Apple's slowing growth-caused in part by its decision in late 2012 to move its product launches from earlier in the year to the Q4-has caused the company's tablet market share to slip to 29.6 percent, its lowest share to date.
However, with the new iPad Air and the refreshed iPad mini with Retina, IDC expects Apple to enjoy robust shipment growth during the fourth quarter.
Samsung once again secured the second position with shipments of about 9.7 million units. The company, which owes a measure of its tablet success to its ability to bundle them with other successful Samsung products, such as smartphones and televisions, grabbed 20.4 percent of the worldwide market.
Asus, which makes the Nexus 7 for Google, shipped about 3.5 million total units during the quarter for a third place finish and 7.4 percent market share. PC powerhouse Lenovo moved into the number four tablet spot with shipments of 2.3 million units and a 4.8 percent share. Finally, Acer rounded out the top five with 1.2 million units shipped and a 2.5 percent share.
Notably, vendors from outside the top five were responsible for over one third of the shipments in 3Q13. IDC tracks dozens of tablet vendors, and this quarter "Others" represents a combination of major vendors (such as Amazon, Microsoft, HP, and Dell) and lesser-known, so-called white box vendors that typically sell ultra-low cost Android devices at often unsustainably low margins.
"White box tablet shipments continue to constitute a fairly large percentage of the Android devices shipped into the market. These low cost Android-based products make tablets available to a wider market of consumers, which is good," said Tom Mainelli, research director, Tablets at IDC.
"Android's growth in tablets has been stunning to watch, but shipments alone won't guarantee long-term success. For that you need a sustainable hardware business model, a healthy ecosystem for developers, and happy end users," added he.