Worldwide tablet sales grew by 68 per cent in 2013, with sales of Android based devices overtaking iPad sales for the first time, according to figures released by industry analysts Gartner.
Global tablet sales grew to 195 million in 2013, up from 116m the previous year, Gartner said in its “Market Share: Ultramobiles by Region, OS and Form Factor, 4Q13 and 2013” report, released today.
The spike in sales during the year was fuelled by improvements in lower-end smaller-screen tablets, many of them running Google's Android software, which in turn boosted the number of first time buyers.
“Tablets became a mainstream phenomenon [in 2013], with a vast choice of Android-based tablets being within the budget of mainstream consumers while still offering adequate specifications,” said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.
“As the Android tablet market becomes highly commoditized, in 2014, 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.”
Android tablets accounted for 62 per cent of sales in 2013, compared with 46 per cent in 2012.
Android’s increasing market share came at the expense of Apple’s iOS platform, which saw its market share decline to 36 per cent from 53 per cent in 2012. This came despite an increase in sales in the fourth quarter of the year.
"Apple's tablets remain strong in the higher end of the market and, Apple's approach will continue to force vendors to compete with full ecosystem offerings, even in the smaller-screen market as the iPad mini sees a greater share", added Ms. Cozza.
Sales of tablets running Microsoft's Windows 8.1 operating system nearly quadrupled during 2013, but its market share stood at just 2 per cent at the end of the year, up from 1 per cent last year, Gartner figures show.
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