March 3rd, 2014, 18:10 PM
Android Tablet Sales Overtake Apple's iPad in 2013
Apple's multi-year reign at the top of the consumer tablet heap ended in 2013 as slates running Google's Android operating system outsold iOS-based iPads for the year, according to Gartner.
Sales of Android tablets accounted for 61.9 percent of the global market last year, or nearly 121 million units sold in 2013, Gartner said Monday. Overall, tablet vendors sold just over 195.4 million tablets with various operating systems for the year, up 68 percent from 116.3 million units sold to end users in 2012.
Apple effectively created the market for consumer tablets in April 2010 with the release of the first-generation iPad. Cupertino remained the market leader for three years, but tablets running Android had gained considerable ground by 2012, when iOS held 52.8 percent of the global market, followed by Android at 45.8 percent.
Last year, Apple's iOS-based tablets came in at 36.0 percent of the market with 70.4 million units sold, according to Gartner. That actually represented a nice increase from the 61.5 million iPads sold in 2012, but Android's major gains—particularly with first-time tablet buyers and in the "low-end smaller screen tablet market" —wound up reducing Cupertino's overall market share by 16.8 percentage points anyway.
"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," Gartner research director Roberta Cozza said in a statement. "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—beyond just hardware and cost—to ensure brand loyalty and improved margins."
Apple did hold onto its crown as the top individual vendor of consumer tablets, selling 70.4 million iPads in 2013 for a 36.0 percent share of the overall market—the same as its share of the market as broken down by operating systems, since the company is the sole maker of tablets running iOS and doesn't sell devices running other software.