Apple Inc.'s share of the tablet market slipped to about 50 percent in the third quarter from about 66 percent in the prior three-month period as demand surged for competing products from Amazon.com Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.
Worldwide tablet shipments totaled 27.8 million in the period, an increase of 50 percent from a year earlier, Framingham, Massachusetts-based researcher IDC said in a report today. Samsung shipped 5.1 million devices in the third quarter, more than double the number from the previous period. Amazon's market share increased to 9 percent from 4.8 percent.
Apple, the world's most valuable company, lost market share as consumers put off iPad purchases as they waited for the anticipated release of a new model, the iPad mini, which went on sale Nov. 2 with Wi-Fi only versions. The iPad mini, priced at $329 to $659, is entering a market crowded with cheaper alternatives from Google Inc., Amazon and Samsung.
"A sizeable percentage of consumers interested in buying an Apple tablet sat out the third quarter in anticipation of an announcement about the new iPad mini," Tom Mainelli, research director for tablets at IDC, said in the report. "Now that the new mini, and a fourth-generation full-sized iPad, are both shipping we expect Apple to have a very good quarter. However, we believe the mini's relatively high $329 starting price leaves plenty of room for Android vendors to build upon the success they achieved in the third quarter."
When Cupertino, California-based Apple introduced the iPad mini on Oct. 23, the company said that wireless versions would start shipping "a couple of weeks" after Wi-Fi models went on sale.