Apple Makes Fourth-Quarter Comeback in Global Tablet Market

Strategy Analytics 4Q2013Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) boosted its tablet market share to nearly 34 percent in the fourth-quarter of 2013, according to the latest data from market research firm Strategy Analytics. Apple’s 34 percent share in the December quarter was also a 7 percent increase from the previous quarter, reversing a trend of two successive quarters of share loss.

Although Apple has consistently dominated the worldwide tablet market ever since it pioneered the product category with its first iPad release in 2007, the California-based company has recently faced increased competition from the rapidly growing of Android-based tablet market. As noted by Strategy Analytics, Apple suffered two consecutive quarters of share loss in the worldwide tablet market last year. However, even as it lost market share in the second- and third-quarters of 2013, Apple managed to maintain its position as the No. 1 tablet vendor in the world.

Not surprisingly, Apple’s end-of-year surge coincided with the release of two new iPad models in the fourth-quarter. Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad Air became available on November 1, while the iPad mini with Retina display arrived in stores on November 12. According to Strategy Analytics, Apple sold 26 million iPads in the last quarter of 2013, compared to 22.9 million units sold in the year-ago quarter.

Meanwhile, the overall tablet market saw 20 percent year-over-year growth last quarter. According to Strategy Analytics, worldwide tablet vendor shipments reached 76.8 million units last quarter, up from 64 million units in the fourth-quarter of 2012. Per Strategy Analytics overall annual tablet shipments also grew in 2013 to 227 million units, 33 percent more than the total shipments in 2012.

The year “2013 was another extremely healthy year for the Tablet market,” noted Matt Wilkins, Director of Tablets and Wearables at Strategy Analytics. “While it may not be a three-figure growth rate like we have witnessed previously, it is still significant considering the market is now delivering in excess of 200 million units on an annual global basis.”

Although Apple still maintained a significant lead in the global tablet market, second-ranked tablet vendor Samsung (SSNLF.PK) managed to narrow the gap by almost doubling its year-over-year market share from 7.5 percent in the fourth-quarter of 2012, to 13.6 percent last quarter. Chinese tablet maker Lenovo saw the biggest year-over-year growth, going from a 0.8 percent market share in the last quarter of 2012, to a 3 percent share in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Strategy Analytics’ data appears to align with recently released data from IDC. According to the IDC, Apple secured a 33.8 percent share of the tablet market last quarter. Like Strategy Analytics, IDC also calculated that Apple sold 26 million iPads.

Follow Nathanael on Twitter (@ArnoldEtan_WSCS)

More From Wall St. Cheat Sheet:

More from The Cheat Sheet