Over the last two months, researchers and analysts have poured over data from 2013 relating to tablet shipments. And the findings are convincing. No matter how you look at it, 2013 was a banner year for tablets.
Worldwide sales of tablets to end users topped 195 million units in 2013, a 68 percent increase on 2012.
According to Gartner, while sales of iOS tablets grew in the fourth quarter of 2013, iOS’s share declined to 36 percent in 2013. The tablet growth in 2013 was fueled by the low-end smaller screen tablet market, and first time buyers; this led Android to become the No. 1 tablet operating system (OS), with 62 percent of the market.
“In 2013, tablets became a mainstream phenomenon, with a vast choice of Android-based tablets being within the budget of mainstream consumers while still offering adequate specifications,” says Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.
As the Android tablet market becomes highly commoditized, in 2014, Cozza adds, “it will be critical for vendors to focus on device experience and meaningful technology and ecosystem value — beyond just hardware and cost — to ensure brand loyalty and improved margins.”
All told, in 2013, the share of Apple’s iOS dropped 16.8 percentage points as the market demand was driven by the improved quality of smaller low-cost tablets from branded vendors, and white-box products continued to grow in emerging markets.