iPad Shipments on a Historic Low, Other Tablet Brands Dominate Market

Market analyst TrendForce released its outlook on the global tablet PC market, for Q2-2013. Its biggest finding may not go down well at One Infinite Loop. The study finds that iPad and iPad mini sold 14.6 million units in Q2-2012, down from 19.5 million in Q1. One can't attribute this to a post-holiday slump, as that would have its effect in Q1, and doesn't spill over to Q2. TrendForce blames "relatively high prices" if iPads as probable cause. With it, Apple now holds 35.5 percent of the tablet market, which still makes it the single largest tablet vendor.

Elsewhere in the tablet space, Samsung's gambit of stuffing the market with a bloated tablet lineup spanning virtually every size- and price-point, isn't paying off, but it's not as bad as Apple. It shipped 8.8 million fewer tablets in Q2, than Q1, despite which, its market share grew from 20.2 percent in Q1 to 21.5 percent in Q2. A special mention here is the company's 8-inch tablets, which pack an edge over the iPad mini. Samsung's 8-inch lineup is spearheaded by the Galaxy Note 8.0, an 8-inch Galaxy Tab 3 is in the works. TrendForce noted that 8-inch tablets helped Samsung weather the slump.

The big winners of the quarter are Taiwanese PC giants ASUS and Acer. In addition to manufacturing the Nexus 7 for Google, ASUS' strategy has been to dish out some extremely cost-effective (sub-$200) tablets, which paid off for the company. It saw a quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) growth of 60 percent. Acer's approach to the market is similar to ASUS'. It recorded a QoQ growth of 36 percent.

The rest of the tablet market is a jungle. A handful whitebox tablet OEMs ship out a handful common tablet designs, which are then sold and resold by countless sub-brands, who collectively shipped just 9.7 million units, recording a 7 percent QoQ decline. Despite its low-cost advantage, this swarm is seeing a decline. It looks like tablet buyers are finding it sensible to choose established brands.