Samsung Continues to Close the Gap Behind Apple in Global Tablet Market

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Apple and Samsung combined for 71% of the 41.3 million branded tablets in the first calendar quarter of 2014 according to early vendor shipment share estimates from ABI Research.

This is the closest the two leading vendors have come to date and the pair remains well-ahead the rest of the pack.

"Despite questions remaining about data disclosure in 2010 and 2011, Samsung's release of tablet sales data this past quarter is a good sign for the mobile computing market," says senior practice director Jeff Orr. "Whether due to its confidence in the economy, its own business, or a combination of reasons, Samsung continues to demonstrate tablet growth as its 2013 retail push in North America and Western Europe pays off."

The first three months of the year remain a seasonal low-point for tablets as with other computing and CE markets. The top three reporting tablet vendors for 1Q 2014 were:

Vendor Units (m) 1Q to 1Q
(Share Change +/(-))
Apple 16.4 -10.10%
Samsung 13 10.80%
ASUS* 2.1 -0.80%
*includes Google Nexus 7 shipments
Source: ABI Research

The mix of tablet operating systems is also showing signs of stability with only minor changes in shipment share. Android continues to lead new tablet shipments at 56.3% for 1Q 2014 followed by iOS at 39.6% and Windows 8/RT at 4.1% with an accuracy of +/- 3% due to vendors yet to report.

A bright spot in the quarter was the tablet attach rate level of mobile broadband modems (3G and 4G). A little over 1-in-5 tablets, or 22%, shipped with an embedded modem, which is the highest penetration seen since the September quarter of 2011. "As major advanced markets become saturated, buyers are expanding their tablet use case, which is also pushing up the ASP in these markets," adds Orr.

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