Research firm Gartner reports that more than 195 million tablets were sold in 2013, and for the first time since the introduction of Apple’s first iPad, most of the tablets sold were running Google Android software.
According to Gartner, Android grabbed about 62 percent of the market for a total of nearly 121 million tablets.
Apple’s probably not too worried though. While the company saw its iPad market share dip from 53 percent to 36 percent, Apple reportedly sold more than 70 million tablets in 2013. That’s up from about 61 million the year before.
In other words, as the market grows, there’s room for more than one major player.
That’s clearly what Microsoft is banking on, as the company attempts to grow its market share. With an estimated 4 million tablets sold in 2013, Gartner figures Windows has just about 2 percent of the market to itself. Still, that’s better than the 1 percent market share Windows tablets had in 2012.
There another reason Apple should probably be pleased with the latest numbers though. While more tablets running Android software were sold than tablets running iOS, there was no single company that sold more tablets than Apple. Nobody else was even close.
Apple had about a 36 percent market share while the second-most popular tablet maker was Samsung, with 19 percent. Asus took a distant third place at less than 6 percent.
On the other hand, it looks like one of the reasons the tablet market is expanding is thanks to low-cost, small tablets. While Apple’s iPad mini sort of fits the bill, it’s a much more expensive device than competing Android tablets from Samsung, Asus, Amazon, and even Windows tablets from Dell, Lenovo, and others. If the trend continues (and if price is really one of the key factors leading to tablet market growth), Apple’s market share could continue to decline if the company doesn’t offer lower-priced options.
It’s worth taking market research reports like this with a grain of salt, since they’re based on information from industry sources and educated guesswork rather than cold, hard facts. Amazon, for instance, doesn’t actually report just how many tablets it sells, but the Gartner report estimates the company sold 9.4 million of its Kindle Fire tablets in 2013, enough to take 4th place.