Apple posted its March-quarter earnings on Tuesday afternoon, which means the flood gates are open for market research firms looking to detail the global smartphone and tablet markets in Q1 2013. Strategy Analytics was among the first to start pushing out numbers and tablets took center stage in a report released late on Tuesday. While Apple managed a great quarter where iPad sales are concerned, it wasn’t enough to stave off the growing army of low-cost Android slates and Apple saw big losses this past quarter in terms of global market share.
Apple announced on Tuesday that it sold 19.5 million iPads in the March quarter, which was good for 48.2% of the global tablet market. That figure is impressive for a company with just two tablet models on the market, but it is down sharply from the 63.1% of the tablet market Apple controlled in the same quarter last year.
Just as the case has been in the smartphone market following the launch of the first iPhone, Android’s tablet proliferation is catching up. In the first quarter this year, branded Android tablets accounted for 43.4% of all tablets shipped, up from 34.2% in the year-ago quarter.
And despite a rocky start, Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Windows RT platforms were able to make a dent in the tablet market as well in the first quarter, having taken 7.5% of the global market. That’s up from 0% in the same quarter in 2012, according to Strategy Analytics.
“Global branded tablet shipments reached an all-time high of 40.6 million units in Q1 2013, surging 117 percent from 18.7 million in Q1 2012,” Strategy Analytics analyst Peter King said. “Demand for tablets among consumer, business and education users remains strong. Apple produced a solid performance this quarter as the Mini had its first full term and shipped a robust 19.5 million mixed iPads worldwide maintaining market leadership with 48 percent share during the first quarter of 2013. Android captured a record 43 percent share of global branded tablet shipments in Q1 2013, rising from 34 percent a year earlier. Global Android tablet shipments increase 177 percent annually to 17.6 million units.”