Worldwide tablet shipments outpaced predictions, reaching a record 52.5 million units worldwide in Q4 2012, according to preliminary data from IDC. The tablet market grew 75.3% year over year, up from 29.9 million units, and increased 74.3% from the previous quarter’s total of 30.1 million units. Lower average selling prices, a wide range of new products, and increased holiday spending all acted as catalysts to push the already climbing tablet market to record levels.
The iPad is still leading the market, with Apple’s tablet shipments reaching a total of 22.9 million units, representing a growth of 48.1%. However, iPad’s share declined for a second quarter in a row, down to 43.6% from 46.4% last quarter. Number two vendor Samsung experienced 263% year-on-year growth, shipping nearly 8 million combined Android and Windows 8 tablets during the quarter to grab 15.1% of the market, its same market share total from the previous quarter.
Other notable vendors include Amazon and Barnes & Noble, both of which saw their market share increasing sharply as new products gained traction during the holiday season. Asus, on the other hand, lost its market share, slipping from 7.8% to 5.8% despite continued strong shipments of the Google-branded Nexus 7 tablet and the highest year-over-year increase in the top five at 402.3%.
Finally, Microsoft which entered the market during the quarter with its Surface Windows RT tablet failed to reach the top five after shipping just shy of 900,000 units into the channel.
This year will be an interesting one with Microsoft and its partners pushing ahead with new tablets, some of which may have a lower price to help the Redmond giant grow its market share…