Apple’s slice of the tablet pie shrinks in the fourth quarter

APPLE’S share of the tablet market fell over the Christmas period, even as it sold record numbers of iPads, according to research.

Figures from market analysts IDC claim that the iPad and iPad mini accounted for 43.6 per cent of worldwide sales in the fourth quarter of 2012.

This was down from 51.7 per cent in the same period last year and 46.4 per cent on the previous quarter. Although Apple sold a record 22.9m iPads in the quarter – a 49 per cent increase on last year – it still did not grow as fast as the overall tablet market.

IDC said tablet shipments hit 52.5m in the quarter. This was 75 per cent up year-on-year, displaying the incredible shift as consumers bought tablets instead of personal computers. According to another research firm, Gartner, PC shipments fell to 90m units in the fourth quarter.

A similar level of growth again in 2013, although deemed unlikely, would see tablet sales overtake PCs by the end of the year.

Although Apple’s market share fell, it still retained a sizeable lead on second-placed Samsung, which more than doubled its share to 15.1 per cent. Amazon’s Kindle range took 11.5 per cent of the market.

However, Microsoft, which launched its Surface tablet in the period, did not make the top five.