Kindle Fire chomps on iPad’s share, but Apple still leads tablet market — IDC

MANILA, Philippines — Bolstered by the success of its widely popular Kindle Fire Android tablet, eCommerce giant Amazon went on to secure the 2nd spot in the worldwide tablet market as of end-2011 as Apple sustains its market-share lead, research firm IDC said Tuesday.

In its Worldwide Quarterly Media Tablet and eReader Tracker, IDC revealed that Apple’s share has slipped to 54.7 percent worldwide in the last quarter of 2011, down 7 percentage points from the previous quarter.

IDC reported that Amazon was responsible for eroding the iPad’s share of tablet shipments as it corners 16.8 percent of the market with 4.7 million units of the Kindle Fire shipped during the period.

The Kindle Fire’s record showing — particularly during the Christmas season — was followed distantly by Korean electronics firm Samsung (5.5 percent), Barnes & Noble (3.5 percent) and Pandigital (2.5 percent).

It is worth noting that aside from Samsung, none of the major electronics and PC brands that have come out with their own Android tablet flavors have made a significant dent on the market.

“Amazon’s widely-reported entry into the media tablet market with a $199, 7-inch product seemed to raise consumers’ awareness of the category worldwide despite the fact that the Fire shipped almost exclusively in the U.S. in the fourth quarter,” said Tom Mainelli, research director for Mobile Connected Devices at IDC.

In terms of operating systems used, the research firm noted a significant increase in the share of Google’s Android OS, jumping from 32.3 percent in the third quarter to 44.6 percent in the last quarter of 2011.

This came at the expense of Apple’s iOS share, which fell to 54.7 percent during the period. BlackBerry’s share, meanwhile, slipped to below 1 percent for the first time, as Hewlett-Packard’s WebOS dropped its market share to zero during the quarter.

IDC, however, took particular notice at the iPad’s stellar showing during the quarter, but made no comments about the release of its new iPad.

“The success of market leader Apple was particularly noteworthy, as the company’s shipment total for the quarter represents an increase of 110.5 percent from 4Q10,” Mainelli said.

This year, IDC predicts that Apple will ship a total of 60 million units of its iPad line worldwide, although the clear dark horse are Android tablets, which would grow its shipments to 53.9 million this year.

“Looking ahead, IDC expects Android to continue to grow its share of the market at the expense of iOS,” IDC added.

In total, tablet shipments jumped 155 percent on a year-on-year basis to 68.7 million units as of end-2011, which IDC is predicting to reach 106.1 million units this year, thanks to the market’s strong 2011 finish.