Apple’s once-commanding lead of the tablet market is shrinking, according to the latest IDC report. In the third quarter, 27.8 million tablets were shipped worldwide, with Apple’s iPad representing 50.4% of all shipments in the quarter. That represents a marked drop for the company, which represented 65.5% of all tablet shipments in Q2. IDC attributes the decline to customers awaiting Apple’s iPad mini as well as stronger than expected sales of the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire tablets, which each shipped roughly 2.5 million tablets and propelled ASUS and Amazon to roughly 10% market share apiece. Samsung also had a stellar quarter thanks to the Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note 10.1 tablets, and the company shipped about 5 million tablets (18.4%).
We’ll likely see Apple’s market share grow in the Q4 report, however, as the company has just announced strong opening weekend sales for the iPad mini and 4th generation iPad. The tablets sold a combined 3 million units in the first weekend alone, more than Amazon and ASUS each sold in all of Q3.
Of course, Samsung and Google have just announced the powerful Nexus 10 tablet, which could steal sales away from the 4th generation iPad in particular in the all-important holiday season. Microsoft also launched the Surface RT tablet, which has generated fairly strong interest at Microsoft stores around the country. It’s certainly an interesting time to be in the tablet market, and consumers have a multitude of choices available in Q4.