The inevitable has happened - according to market research firm Gartner, sales of Android tablets have reached the top position in worldwide tablet sales, after registering a whopping 127 percent growth. End users bought nearly 121 million Android tablets in 2013, which represents a 61.9 percent of the total tablet market. iPad sales dropped from a 52.8-percent share of the market in 2012 to 36 percent. Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, said the following:
In 2013, tablets became a mainstream phenomenon, with a vast choice of Android-based tablets being within the budget of mainstream consumers while still offering adequate specifications. As the Android tablet market becomes highly commoditized, in 2014, it will be critical for vendors to focus on device experience and meaningful technology and ecosystem value â€” beyond just hardware and cost â€” to ensure brand loyalty and improved margins. Apple's tablets remain strong in the higher end of the market and, Apple's approach will continue to force vendors to compete with full ecosystem offerings, even in the smaller-screen market as the iPad mini sees a greater share.
Last year, Apple led the tablet category with nearly 53% of sales on 61 million units, compared to Android at nearly 46% with 53 million tablets sold. Now, Apple's share of worldwide tablet sales dropped by 16.8 percentage points, despite having shipped more iPads than in the previous year. As expected, Gartner confirms that the growth of the tablet market was propelled by the low-end smaller screen tablet market, and buyers who made their first tablet acquisition.
When it comes to Windows tablets, Microsoft took a modest 2.1% share, with total sales of slightly more than 4 million units. When it comes to worldwide tablet sales to end users by vendor, Apple is one the first place, with more than 70 million iPads. Itâ€™s interesting to observe that this number is lower than what Apple has reported for 2013 - 74.2 million iPads. On the second place we find Samsung with more than 37 million shipped tablets and a market share of 19%.