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Why Tablet Shipments Grew by More than 66 Percent


According to preliminary data from International Data Corporation (IDC), a better than anticipated second quarter for the media tablet market will offer one of the few upside opportunities for traditional PC manufacturers in an otherwise uninspiring global marketplace.

Total worldwide media tablet shipments for the second quarter of 2012 (2Q12) are estimated at 25 million units -- that's up from 18.7 in the first quarter of 2012.

That growth represents a quarter-over-quarter increase of 33.6 percent and a robust year-over-year growth rate of 66.2 percent, up from 15 million units in the second quarter of 2011.

"Apple built upon its strong March iPad launch and ended the quarter with its best-ever shipment total for the iPad, outrunning even the impressive shipment record it set in the fourth quarter of last year," said Tom Mainelli, research director at IDC.

According to IDC's assessment, the vast majority of consumers continue to favor the iPad over competitors, and Apple is seeing increasingly strong interest in the device from vertical markets -- especially education.

While iPad shipment totals are beginning to slow in mature markets where the device saw early traction, growth in other regions is likely to make up the difference. Apple shipped 17 million iPads during the quarter, up from 11.8 million units in 1Q12 and well above its previous record of 15.4 million in 4Q11.

Four of the top five worldwide media tablet manufacturers had shipment increases year over year. Samsung experienced exceptional growth, in second place with 2.4 million units shipped, that's up from 1.1 million units a year ago.

Amazon rebounded from a sluggish first quarter to post shipments of 1.2 million units. ASUS shipped 855,454 units, well above its total of 397,048 units a year ago.

Finally, only fifth-placed Acer saw its year-over-year numbers decline, as it shipped 385,458 units this quarter, that's down from 629,222 units a year ago.

Note, shipments of the well-received Google/ASUS co-branded Nexus 7 tablet aren't reflected in these totals, as that product officially began shipping in the third quarter of 2012. Based upon the reported results thus far, we can expect that Google's first tablet should further boost overall shipment forecasts.

IDC expects competition in the media tablet space to continue to expand in the second half of 2012. "In addition to major new products from Amazon and quite likely Apple, we can also expect an influx of Microsoft Windows 8 and Windows RT-based tablets starting in late October," said Bob O'Donnell, program vice president at IDC.

Potential buyers of media tablets will likely have numerous tablet options from which to choose this upcoming holiday season.

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