Ronnie05's Blog

Canalys: Q1 2012 Tablet market snapshot

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on May 3, 2012

Market analyst firm Canalys has reported that global pad shipments more than tripled year-on-year in Q1 2012. Vendors shipped 20.3 million pads, representing 19% of all client PC shipments in the quarter. A year ago pads accounted for just 7% of PC shipments.

Adoption rates, however, vary significantly across regions, shaped by differing economic conditions and the resultant influence on consumer spending, as well as the availability of popular content through local app stores. North America remained the largest region by shipment volume (almost half of the global total), with pads representing 36% of PCs shipped in the region. Asia Pacific was the second largest, rising 232% year-on-year to exceed 5 million units. But shipments in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) of 4.7 million in Q1, and year-on-year growth of only 180%, mean the region is lagging behind. China is now the second largest market for pads, with shipments in Q1 six times what they were a year earlier. Localization of content and app stores is particularly important for success in tablets, which most foreign competitors have yet to achieve.

Overall, 4 of the 10 largest markets for pads are in the Asia Pacific region. In addition to its growing economies, government-led school projects to give students pads to replace textbooks in India, and similar planned initiatives in South Korea and Thailand, will continue contributing to growth in the region.

Apple continues to dominate the tablet market, though the market share of Apple was 58% globally in Q1, down from 74% a year earlier. During Q1 it launched the new iPad and lowered the price of the iPad 2. This boosted shipments after a record Q4 and increased pressure on competitors who are fighting on price. It also makes them more accessible to the education sector. Apple’s performance in the Asia Pacific region is of particular note, with shipments growing 252% even though the new iPad shipped earlier in North America and Europe.

Amazon remained in second place with 10% share, although all its shipments were in North America. Amazon’s rise in the pad space is testament to the need for a compelling content proposition. Samsung was the third biggest pad vendor in the quarter, but given the size of its portfolio, it has been underperforming. While Samsung has been aggressively trying to position its pads in the same price bracket as Apple, but its lack of content means the products are often overlooked by consumers.

The learnings from the Amazon success story and the also-ran Samsung story is that tablet makers cannot succeed by focusing on device specifications alone. The content, services and eco-system bit is every bit a tablet feature much beyond the feature specs.

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