Worldwide Tablet Sales Up 68 Percent, Android Takes the Lead

Global tablet sales reached 195.4 million units last year, a 68 percent increase compared to 2012, according to Gartner. While sales of iOS tablets declined to 36 percent of the market in 2013, Android tablets captured the number 1 spot with with 62 percent of the market, thanks to the growth of low-end smaller screen tablets and first time buyers. However, when looking at sales by vendor, Apple still holds the lead, followed by Samsung, Asus, Amazon and Lenovo.

Gartner analysts note that emerging markets experienced 145 percent growth in 2013, while mature markets grew 31 percent.

“In 2013, tablets became a mainstream phenomenon, with a vast choice of Android-based tablets being within the budget of mainstream consumers while still offering adequate specifications,” said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner. “As the Android tablet market becomes highly commoditized, in 2014, it will be critical for vendors to focus on device experience and meaningful technology and ecosystem value — beyond just hardware and cost — to ensure brand loyalty and improved margins.”

“Apple’s tablets remain strong in the higher end of the market and, Apple’s approach will continue to force vendors to compete with full ecosystem offerings, even in the smaller-screen market as the iPad mini sees a greater share,” added Cozza.

While Microsoft’s tablet volumes saw improvement, its overall share remained small. The company has more shares in productivity oriented ultramobiles.

“To compete, Microsoft needs to create compelling ecosystem proposition for consumers and developers across all mobile devices, as tablets and smartphones become key devices for delivering applications and services to users beyond the PC,” said Cozza.

Asus was the leader in the hybrid ultramobile segment, the fastest growing category in 2013. “Gartner expects replacement buyers to start upgrading to hybrid ultramobiles that will be introduced into the market from 2014, satisfying users who no longer want to deal with owning multiple devices or who want to keep up with the latest computing trend,” reports Gartner.