Even as Amazon’s Kindle Fire and newer, faster Android-powered alternatives swarm the market, the Apple iPad is maintaining clear market leadership, according to the latest market report from ABI Research. Of the 18.2 million media tablets shipped in the first quarter of 2012, 11.8 million were iPads, the company estimates. The iPad has 65% of the market, and cumulatively has shipped 67 million units.
The latest figures include the launch of the “new iPad” (third generation) as well as the reduced pricing of the iPad 2 models. Both merchandising moves on the part of Apple kept the momentum going for the iPad devices.
While the overall tablet market showed a 185% gain in shipments over the same Q1 of 2011, it saw a substantial 33% drop sequentially from the highs during the holiday season.
The big surprise in the latest figures was the retreat of the Amazon Kindle Fire from its position as a decisive second in the market. Samsung shipped 1.1 million devices in the category, making it the second-most-active vendor.
Jeff Orr, senior practice director, Mobile Devices, Content & Applications for ABI, tells Mobile Marketing Daily: "Amazon Kindle Fire shipments dropped about 80% quarter-over-quarter from fourth-quarter 2011 to first-quarter 2012 -- more than the tablet OEM industry average drop of 33%. We believe that the announcement and launch of the Kindle Fire in the fourth quarter was in the right place at the right time for the end of year and holiday buying season. iPads were on a lot of wish lists and the Kindle Fire intersected the need with a significantly attractive price."
WiFi remains the standard mode of connectivity in this category. The iPad does not have the highest 3G/4G attaché rate among devices, even if its sheer numerical advantage means that Apple still ships the most tablets with 3G connectivity.
Orr says he is especially interested in seeing how the major tablet OEMs recover from the Q1 dip and how they position themselves for new sales records in the second half of the year.