Apple Still Well Out In Front In Tablet Market Melee

Parks Associates senior analyst Jennifer Kent, writing for eCommerceTimes notes that nearly three years after Apple introduced its iPad, the company still enjoys the largest market share in tablet space, but that just because Apple almost single-handedly reinvigorated the tablet computer product category, creating a market doesn’t guarantee sustained monopolistic hold.

Ms. Kent notes that Android-based tablets from Amazon, Samsung, and others have been chipping away at Apple’s dominance, with the company’s market share having declined from nearly 90 percent in 2010 to about 55 percent by year-end 2012. She identifies and profiles six major contenders left standing in the tablet market including:

Apple iPad with more than 140 million units sold since the device’s launch in 2010.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire, and Kindle Fire HDl.

Barnes & Noble’s Nook 7-inch Nook HD and 9-inch Nook HD+ tablets, although B&N recently announced a significant loss in its Nook e-reader division in its most-recent fourth quarter.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab series in 7-inch, 8.9-inch and 10.1-inch sizes
Google’s Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 with OEM production subcontracted to Asus for the 7-inch tablet and Samsung for the 10-incher.

Microsoft’s Surface RT and Surface Pro, the latter targeting professional users.

Ms. Kent notes that Microsoft sold approximately 1 million Surface units in 2012 based on Parks Associates estimates, representing a paltry 1 percent of the total market, and accounting for only one-quarter of all Windows-powered tablet sales in 2012, with the company last week taking a $900,000 write-down on Surface losses, and recently announcing slashing prices on its Tablet RT models to try to drive up sales.

Meanwhile Ms. Kent points out that Apple has lost significant market share over the past two years but that even within the non-Apple portion of the market, no single manufacturer has managed to carve out a majority stake, and even if Apple’s share were to dip beneath the 50 percent mark after the 2013 holiday season, the market would still be best characterized as “Apple versus The Rest,” with Apple maintaining a plurality share. Moreover, she predicts that with new/updated iPad models anticipated for later in 2013, Apple be fighting to retain its majority market share.

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