For all of 2010 and 2011, Apple has been in total control of the tablet market share around the globe and there has not been a significant challenger which could be taken seriously. That is until Amazon made a decision to enter the marketplace. Prior to that, all of the other tablet manufacturers were not seen as a threat to Apple and their dominance of the market which they created. There were many who were seeing 2011 as being the year of the tablet, but that has definitely not been the case and it is starting to look like 2012 may become the Year of the Tablet. With the entry of Amazon and their Kindle Fire, they have invaded an area which has been dominated by Apple and are now threatening that dominance.
Amazon had zero market share when they entered the 4th quarter of 2011 and went from nothing to having a 14% market share in not even a full quarter. Shipping 3.9 million Kindle Fire tablets beginning in November, they have grabbed a sizable market share, though there a some who believe they are not going to impact the iPad. That view is short sided as Amazon has found the one area which a majority of consumers seem to be interested in and that is price. By coming to market with a $199 tablet, they have broken the previous market model which had everything beginning at $399 and up. That has forever changed and now everyone has to look at where the market is going in relation to a $199 price line. Continuing rumors of a smaller iPad show just how much things have changed and how believable a smaller & cheaper iPad could be.
One would think that Samsung would have a far better market share than they currently do, especially considering the way that Apple has been trying to get injunctions against Samsung in countries around the world. With what appears to be their tablet of the month club, Samsung has been announcing tablet after tablet trying to find the spot where consumers look at Samsung as the first choice. With only 8% of the market share and behind Amazon, they have their work cut out for them. This again points to the idea of a cheaper tablet as being the way of the future to generate tablet sales.
Amazon is rumored to be working on an 8.9 inch tablet and a 10 inch tablet. If those rumors are accurate and they deliver larger sizes with the aggressive pricing that they did on the Kindle Fire, there could be another market shift where Amazon moves up to 30% market share in the 3rd or 4th quarter. If that were to happen, Apple would lose their greater than 50% market share and be seen as a big problem. If there is a way for Apple to prevent that from happening, it would be with the iPad Mini which has been rumored. If not, the current trending looks like Apple is going to continue to lose market share.
What do you think? Is Apple in danger of losing their current control of the tablet market?
The above chart comes from Statista.com