Android Tablets Outselling iPads in 2013

The International Data Corporation (IDC) said on Tuesday that it has adjusted its worldwide tablet market forecast for 2013, increasing the number of units sold from 172.4 million to 190.9 million. By 2017, shipments to be upwards of 350 million units.

The big news stemming from the updated forecast is that Android's share of the 2013 tablet market will be 48.8-percent, slightly higher than Apple's 46-percent. Adding insult to injury, Android's tablet market share will actually decrease to 46-percent by 2017 whereas Apple's iOS will only control 43.5-percent.

Windows will see a market share increase over the next four years, controlling only 2.8-percent of the tablet market in 2013 and 7.4-percent in 2017. The ARM-based version, Windows RT, will only control 1.9-percent in 2013 and 2.7-percent in 2017. Windows shipments include Windows 8 and Windows 7 tablets, the firm stated.

"One in every two tablets shipped this quarter was below 8 inches in screen size. And in terms of shipments, we expect smaller tablets to continue growing in 2013 and beyond" said Jitesh Ubrani, Research Analyst for IDC's Tablet Tracker. "Vendors are moving quickly to compete in this space as consumers realize that these small devices are often more ideal than larger tablets for their daily consumption habits."

As an owner of both Nexus tablets, that comment hits the nail right on the head. The bulky 10-inch model may sport a larger screen and higher resolution, but the 7-inch Tegra 3-based model from Asus feels more stable and is easier to hold when reading The Walking Dead comics or surfing the Internet. The 10-inch Samsung model is better suited for stationary tasks like watching Netflix while using a tablet cover with a built-in kickstand.

Meanwhile, Apple is struggling to remain relevant by offering an 8.9-inch version of its iPad, the iPad Mini. What Apple has seemingly failed to realize is that consumers are gravitating to the $199 price range. Still, even the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch tablet with 32 GB of storage (and without offers) retails for $384 USD whereas the 32 GB iPad Mini costs $429 USD.

As for Microsoft, both Windows 8 and Windows RT are reportedly experiencing poor sales. Even Microsoft's attempt to win consumers over with branded solutions has failed to gain any traction. "Consumers aren't buying Windows RT's value proposition, and long term we think Microsoft and its partners would be better served by focusing their attention on improving Windows 8. Such a focus could drive better share growth in the tablet category down the road," added Tom Mainelli, Research Director, Tablets.

The report also states that the emergence of the 7-inch tablet form factor has damaged the prospects of the single-use eReader. Shipments peaked in 2011 at 26.4 million units, and then began its market descent with 18.2 million units in 2012. IDC reports that the eReader sector will see a modest growth in 2013 and 2014 before beginning a gradual and permanent decline in 2015.

So long, and thanks for all the fish, dear faithful eReader.

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  • house70
    iOS is cluncky, outdated and boring. People want more customizability, so they go with whatever offers them that.
    Windows solutions are still a tad too expensive, even though they are more customizable than iOS.
    As far as the eReaders go, they still offer unprecedented battery life due to their e-ink screens (also, excellent readability in bright environments, like a real book). I still use one of these. Can't make myself use a tablet for prolonged reading.
  • neblogai
    There is no way Apple will keep such a large market share into the 2017. The article fails to take into account Chinese tablets- which will take over the market.
    I have recently bought a Sumvision Voyager 7' tablet for my sisters kids. It costs 80 pounds, which is less than a hundred dollars- and it does almost everything a tablet needs to do. It lacks only high screen resolution (but 480x800 is ok for everything except text), Bluetooth, and GPS, but has a SD-card slot and HDMI-out, which many expensive tablets lack. I also bought a case with a keyboard ($8) to put it in- which makes it a nettop pc when needed. So, now it is basically a small tablet-nettop for a $100. It is much cheaper than laptops, much cheaper than branded tablets- and it is a computing device that billions living in third world countries can finally afford. Being an android, it is easy to use, and has lots of free software as well. Devices like these will blow away most tablet manufacturers. My prediction is, in about 5 years only content providers (Kindle, Google Nexus, Apple) will stay in the market, with a total market share of one third, at best. The rest- is for the masses.
  • dgingeri
    Windows will see a market share increase over the next four years, controlling only 2.8-percent of the tablet market in 2013 and 7.4-percent in 2017. The ARM-based version, Windows RT, will only control 1.9-percent in 2013 and 2.7-percent in 2017.

    I think they underestimate WinRT. I picked up a Dell XPS 10, and I like it. It acts just like Win8, for the most part, and that makes it easier to work with. People complaining about the app restrictions apparently don't realize that both Android and Apple have that same restriction. Many Windows apps can easily be adapted to WinRT, so I don't think there will be issues with apps. I'm betting they'll have a bigger share of the market than these analysts think.
  • classzero
    Does this mean Android users get the sheep title?
  • pacomac
    If Apple manage to hold onto nearly 50% of tablet sales in comparison to ALL other Android tablet manufacturers put together that will be pretty amazing in itself.

    As for the cheaper 7" and 8" tablets, people will realise that you get what you pay for and a bigger screen is better. Personally I'd like to see Apple release a 12" display... I'd buy it!

    I purchased both the Nexus 7 (which is now only used as a glorified GPS device) and an iPad Mini (which is better, but still too small). If you need a 7" tablet just get a phablet!
  • kartu
    Just had to test stuff on iPad (not sure the number). Compared to Galaxy Tab 10.1:
    It looks like having a much smaller screen.
    Has gazillion of hardware buttons.
    Is heavy.
    Is hard to hold in hands.

    And this thingy is seriously expected to hold 43% by 2017? I oh so doubt it.
    Most likely it will follow the fate of the iPhone, settling at about 15% of the market.

    classzeroDoes this mean Android users get the sheep title?Just buying a popular product doesn't make you a sheep.
  • jtenorj
    I found a few errors/omissions in this article. First, the iPad Mini is not 8.9 inches, it's like 7.85 inches. Second, why no mention of the 8.9inch B&N tablet with full HD and a micro sd slot? That can be easily upraded to the latest version of android by simply inserting a micro sd card with the latest version of Cyanogen Mod. The best part is that you can get the cheapest version of the 8.9 inch B&N tablet for only 300 bucks, which is even less than the cheapest iPad Mini.
  • yhatz17
    off course, people would realize that they are wasting money on a thousand dollar facebook machine :)
  • Eric Labelle
    I have a Nexus 7 , and two Asus Primes at home. The primes never leave the house but the kids love them at home. I love my Nexus 7 on the road and when I travel. Way less bulky and I teather to my phone on the go. It all comes down to what you do with it. Most games play better on the 7" but video is better on a 10" if you don't have to hold it. I love the keyboard on the Asus prime aswell when working on documents.
  • InvalidError
    pacomacAs for the cheaper 7" and 8" tablets, people will realise that you get what you pay for and a bigger screen is better.Personally, 7" is perfect:
    1- it barely fits in my pockets, which makes it the largest screen I can carry without encumbering myself
    2- it is light enough to hold for extended periods
    3- it is small enough for holding in public transit and also makes it a little more discrete (I personally prefer drawing the least attention possible when in public)
    4- it is more than large enough to display GPS instructions
    5- it is large enough to read or watch video in bed and light enough to hold that long

    If I want a much bigger screen, I would need something that can stand on its own... but then it would not be suitable for most things I use my N7 for... too large to carry in pockets, too heavy to hold when no surface to set it on is available, draws more unwanted attention, too large/heavy for most phone/GPS holders to hold and while a bigger screen may be better for reading or watching video, having to set it on something for watching/reading more than a few minutes at a time would make it more annoying than convenient - if I am going to have to sit in bed to read/watch something, might as well walk to the computer.

    So for me, a 8-12" tablet does not appear to be worth the trouble... and since 7" models are outselling larger models, I am most likely not alone.