The only winner in the sector was Apple, which saw a fourth quarter year-on-year growth of 22.7 percent in iPad sales. Much of that growth came in the last quarter of 2019 after the launch of new models and the arrival of iPadOS 13.
Apple’s growth for the full 2019 year was 15.2 percent. It sold a shade under 50 million units.
This undermines the negative arguments made by John Gruber and other prominent Apple bloggers about the iPad operating system. The geeks may not like Apple’s iPad direction but customers do.
Apple iPad clear tablet leader
Apple now has a 36.5 percent share of the tablet market when measured by units. It is bigger than the next three tablet brands combined. The company’s top tablet models tend to be more expensive than offerings from rivals, which means Apple would dominate tablet revenues and, by extension, tablet profits.
Samsung is the next best selling tablet brand with its Galaxy Tab range. The company sold 21.7 million units in 2019, that’s well under half Apple’s result. Samsung Tablet sales fell 7.2 percent during the year.
Android doesn’t translate well to the tablet format, but Samsung has the best implementation. It’s tablets are a decent alternative to the iPad for customers who want to stay in the Android world or opt out of Apple’s orbit.
Huawei under pressure
Third place Huawei faces a challenge reaching customers in the US market and, no doubt, the security scare has affected sales in other markets. Even so, it dropped less than Samsung. Huawei has some solid, if unoriginal, offerings in this space. In 2019 Huawei’s tablet sales fell by 3.5 percent.
We don’t see much of fourth place Amazon in New Zealand. The company makes a range of low price tablets with an idiosyncratic version of Android. For the whole of 2019 Amazon’s sales climbed 10 percent, but there was a big 30 percent dropped in the last quarter.
Lenovo with an 8.5 percent market share also saw a small drop over 2019 for its low-cost tablets.
|Top Five Tablet Companies, Worldwide Shipments, Market Share, and Growth, 2019 (Preliminary results, combined company view for the current quarter only, shipments in millions)|
|Vendor||2019 Unit Shipments||2019 Market Share||2018 Shipments||2018 Market Share||Year-Over-Year Growth|
|Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly PCD Tracker, January 30, 2020|
Whatever the expert users say about the iPad, it strikes a chord with Apple’s customers. The move to sell an Apple-branded keyboard and the Apple Pencil, along with the, controversial in geek circles, upgrades to iPadOS have all propelled the iPad.
It gives owners of earlier models a solid reason to upgrade and pulls in some buyers who may have considered laptops. You can use the iPad for jobs, like writing, that were previously only practical on a traditional computer. The other strategy Apple has got right it pricing. There are low-cost models at the bottom along with more expensive pro models at the top.