Strategy Analytics report on global tablet shipments during 2011′s fourth quarter. The research firm’s data show that the tablet market saw record shipments during the final quarter of 2011.
While Android OS increased the number of shipments, thanks in large part to a bump from holiday sales of Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet, Apple’s iPad maintained an impressive 58 percent share of tablet shipments.
Strategy Analytics Director, Peter King, said, “Global tablet shipments reached an all-time high of 26.8 million units in Q4 2011, surging 150 percent from 10.7 million in Q4 2010. Demand for tablets among consumer, business and education users remains strong. Apple shipped a robust 15.4 million iPads worldwide and maintained its strong market leadership with 58 percent share during the fourth quarter of 2011. Apple shrugged off the much-hyped threat from entry-level Android models this quarter.”
Though Android tablets appear to have increased shipments compared to 2010′s fourth quarter (10.1%) by about the same percentage (10.6.%) that Apple’s marketshare of tablet shipments decreased (10.6%), the huge increase in the number of tablets shipped offsets Apple’s loss to some degree. The company now has a slightly smaller share of a pie that grew 150 percent over the last 12 months.
Strategy Analytics measures tablets shipped, rather than tablets sold, so readers need to bear in mind that some of the 26.8 million tablets shipped may not necessarily ended up in the hands of consumers. While this fact probably does not artificially inflate the iPad numbers, it may be an overestimate for tablets in the other categories since shipments fail to account for tablets that molder on store shelves or are returned by unhappy consumers.