Research firm IDC has released a preliminary global estimate of tablet market share for Q4. The figures are all based on shipments, which are typically not the same as device sales to end users although in some cases shipments do predict sales.
According to these numbers, Apple’s dominant position in the market declined from 51.7 percent to 43.6 percent. Samsung lead the Android tablet makers with 15.1 percent market share, followed by Amazon’s Kindle Fire, with 11.5 percent of the market in Q4.
Source: IDC (1/13)
Last week Apple reported that it sold roughly 23 million iPads in Q4.
Strikingly, IDC’s figures don’t line up with the “facts on the ground.” The iPad continues to dominate web traffic generated by tablets according to several sources. While the data are US or North America-based (vs. IDC’s global numbers) there’s a pretty massive chasm between traffic and the shipments data.
According to Chitika’s most recent metrics, drawn from millions of impressions on its network in North America earlier this month, the iPad is responsible for 81 percent of all US and Canadian tablet web traffic. Although Chitika doesn’t track this data in Europe the numbers there can’t be very far behind.
According to Chitika the following is the traffic share breakdown among Android devices (19 percent of overall tablet traffic):
Source: Chitika (1/13)
Kindle Fire is generating just over 40 percent of all Android tablet traffic in North America, followed by Samsung Galaxy tablets (20.5 percent) and Google’s Nexus tablets (9.1 percent), some of which are made by Asus (N7) and some by Samsung (N10).
Based on all of the above I would argue that we should abandon “shipments” as a market-share metric and rely instead upon actual sales and/or usage metrics such as those from Chitika, comScore and others.