If 2012 was considered the year of mobile, we may as well go ahead and declare 2013 the year of the tablet. A new study from research firm Canalys shows that one in every three PCs shipped globally was a tablet, with 114.6 million units moving during 2012. Sales were split almost evenly between Apple’s iPad (49%) and Android tablets (46%).
The current state of the tablet market is starkly different from a year ago. In 2011, the iPad was still the undisputed king of the tablet market, claiming 67% of worldwide tablet sales, according to Gartner.
iPad Market Share
The year-over-year decline in iPad market share is remarkably similar to the development of the smartphone market earlier this decade, when the iPhone, dominant for several years following its 2007 debut, began to struggle competing with the diversity of the Android platform in global markets.
While it had been easy to define the tablet market as the “iPad market” in the past, the most recent statistics point to a steadily increasing percentage of tablet users electing to browse the Web with a competing tablet, particularly in North America.
The latest Web usage figures coming out of Chitika Insights show a number of Android competitors hot on the iPad’s heels within the continent. The Kindle Fire saw its share of tablet Web usage more than double between December and January. Other Android tablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy, Nook, and Google Nexus tablet lines also did well – all three now account for a combined 6.7% of North American tablet Web usage.
As the tablet market continues to diversify across screen sizes, quality, and price, it will be increasingly important for marketers to establish a presence on both Android and iOS tablet platforms to maximize campaign effectiveness.
The quantifiable differences between Android and iOS user behavior are slipping away. A recent study conducted by Chitika Insights shows the minimal difference between iOS and Android CTR, coming in at 0.92% and 0.86% respectively.
Preferred Computing Platform
Qualitatively, the differences are becoming much smaller, as well. Many popular Android tablets now have capabilities that equal the iPad, making the user experience itself more consistent across differing tablet platforms.
These developments underscore how tablets as a whole are now developing into a preferred computing platform for consumers. Marketers need to carefully examine how to best engage their target audience on these devices or risk missing out on a growing volume of potential interactions and conversions.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.