Tablet shipments rocket in 4Q13


PC shipments up 18% in Q4 pushed by tablets that reach almost 50%

The worldwide PC market grew significantly in the fourth quarter of 2013, thanks to a seasonal surge in tablet shipments.

Tablet shipments grew 65.2% year on year to reach 76.3 million units, representing 48.3% of the total PC market, which grew 17.9% in the fourth quarter 2013. Excluding tablets, shipments declined 6.9% year on year with falls in all regions, according to new figures from Canalys.

Apple remained the PC market leader in the last quarter of the year, shipping 30.9 million units to take a 19.5% share of the market. It shipped 26.0 million iPads, which accounted for 84.3% of its total shipments in the fourth quarter.

Apple's share of the overall tablet market increased sequentially from 27.3% to 34.1%, with the launch of the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display providing a much needed boost. The original iPad mini also fell in price, down to $299 in the US, making it cheaper than ever to buy an iPad. But competition is mounting and Android tablets are falling in price, which will put pressure on Apple's market share in 2014.

Lenovo was early to embrace Android as a tablet operating system, while the likes of HP and Dell waited for Windows 8 and prioritised margin over volume. Lenovo's strategy has paid off, not only in its home market but worldwide; Lenovo secured an 11.8% share in fourth quarter, narrowly holding onto second place. Lenovo's PC shipments increased 25.5% year on year, driven by growth outside of its core Chinese market.

'Lenovo still has the potential to grow its global notebook shipments and has emerged as a challenger in the tablet space,' said James Wang, analyst at Canalys. 'Worldwide, Lenovo shipped three times as many tablets in the fourth quarter as HP and Dell combined, or two and a half times when excluding China.'

Samsung continued to grow strongly and took third place, shipping 18.2 million units. Tablets accounted for 79.7% of its fourth quarter PC shipments, some 14.5 million units, up 90.3% on the same quarter 2012. Samsung is a clear second in the tablet market.

The top two vendors combined accounted for 53.2% of shipments. However, Samsung's shipment growth came at a price, as it had to resort to significant promotional activity to run down inventory. Most of Apple's and Samsung's shipments are to established markets, with around two thirds to EMEA and North America.

Shipments to Latin America and Asia Pacific (excluding Greater China) were similar for both vendors. 'Apple is focusing on China, where it has a 38.3% share of the tablet market, but it does not reach competitive price points in other high growth markets and risks missing out on future progress,' said Tim Coulling, senior analyst at Canalys. 'Product innovation and competition in the Android camp will continue to accelerate. This gives good growth potential to smaller local players and those top tier vendors willing to disrupt margins in the tablet space.'


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