Did Android Tablet’s Gain on The iPad or Did The Market Grow?

Yesterday Strategy Analytics released some numbers showing the latest in the overall tablet shipments which included iPad and Android tablets. In that report Strategy Analytics reported”

  1. Apple sold 9.3 million iPads in the second quarter of this year, giving it a commanding 61% share of the market
  2. Android captured [a] 30% share of global tablet shipments in Q2 2011
  3. Motorola, Samsung, Acer and Asus – shipped 4.6 million tablets running on the Android operating system in the three months to the end of June.
  4. Microsoft managed to capture a 4.6% of the tablet market
  5. PlayBook tablet, shipping half a million units in Q2 to give it a 3.3% share.

Now there are several things we need to bear in mind when we look at these numbers. First is that these numbers are only for Q3 2011. So Strategy Analytics is saying that during the third quarter Android tablets sold 30% of the total tablet sales just in this quarter. Strategy Analytics is not saying that Android tablets have 30% of the total tablet market share to date.

Second Apple’s tablet sales are sell through (actual sales to consumers), meaning those are actual numbers of consumers walking around with iPads in their hands. The Android tablet sales are shipped in to retail sales which is not necessarily indicative of how many consumer actually purchased them, only how many retailers purchased into the sales channel.

Now to look at the actual current market share numbers of tablets. According to sales figures to date Apple sold just over 29 million iPads. Sifting through as much public data I could find i’ve come up with total Android sales to date of just over 9 million, again sell into channel not sold through to consumers. If that is correct then Android tablet market share of total sales into channel to date is just over 25%.

I am keeping a close eye on these numbers and the next two quarters will be very telling. Since the most accurate tablet forecasts for 2011 are in the 40-55 million range, the next two quarters look like they could be huge. I believe Apple will easily sell in the double digit million range of iPads in each of the next two quarters. The true sell through numbers of Android will be key and i’ll update my market share figures when we get them.

We must also remember that tablets are a growth category, this year they will have grown nearly 200%. Meaning that the overall size of the tablet pie is growing. In my opinion discussing market share is great but I’m not sure its entirely helpful until a market has reached its peak.

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Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio

22 thoughts on “Did Android Tablet’s Gain on The iPad or Did The Market Grow?”

  1. The biggest problem with Android’s numbers is that they are for SHIPMENTS, NOT SALES.

    Apple’s numbers are for actual sales.

    Thus, Apple sold 9.6 million iPads last quarter.

    Samsung, Motorola and Asus SHIPPED 4.6 million tablets. But most likely, they SOLD less than 1 million of them.

    1. Exactly. That is why I made the distinction of sell though in apple case vs cell into the channel. I am going to try and get the actual numbers of Android sell though from NPD.

  2. How do you go from shipments to sold. Based on my understanding of the financial reports from various manufacturers, Apple’s numbers are the only actual sale numbers?

    1. Yes that is what I pointed out the article. Android is only shipped into the channel but Apple’s numbers are sold through into consumers hands.

      1. That is bad blogging or reporting, whatever you prefer. Either report shipped for all or sold for all. You could add the channel inventory Apple reports on to its sold number to come up with units shipped for Apple couldn’t you.
        Secondly if the 9.3 mil units are sold, they you should say SOLD and not SHIPPED in your bullet points.

        1. Again, I was pointing out the wording Strategy Analytics used in order to clarify. I am also an industry analyst not a journalist nor blogger. So to make it clear, I have added sold vs shipped in my points.

          Again those points came from strategy not me and I tried to clear up the discrepancy in my writing. Which I did in the second paragraph.

  3. I don’t think Apple shipped 9.3 million tablets, I think it sold that many. Isn’t that what Apple reported in its earnings call?

    1. Correct. I point out the difference of sold into the channel and sold through the channel in the second paragraph.

    2. Correct. I point out the difference of sold into the channel and sold through the channel in the second paragraph.

    3. Correct. I point out the difference of sold into the channel and sold through the channel in the second paragraph.

  4. Apple iPad shipments to end of June 2011 as reported in their financials are 28,729. On the current run rate we should see sales around 40MM in calendar 2011 with cumulative sales around 55MM and its likely shipments will double in 2012.

    PCMag has a great opinion as to why Apple may have already won the tablet war (at least in the US)

    Qtr 3 Jun 3,270
    Qrt 4 Sept 4,188

    Qtr 1 Dec 7,331
    Qrt 2 Mar 4,694
    Qtr 3 Jun 9,246

    1. I did like the PC mag article.

      Given that it’s near the end of July Apple most likely has sold more than 29m by now.

  5. Do sold & ship mean the same? Because you can ship like a zillion tablets but it don’t mean shit if people aint buying them.

  6. The android numbers are SHIPPED numbers. Why? Two reasons a) that research company can’t very sell many $6,999 reports (as it’s priced) to a lotof different clients if the actual sales and usage might be as low as 3% of the tablet market as mostother market share and usage seems to indicate. By going with shipped numbers, a lot of periphery companies and parties might interested in buying this report to see how they can get in on the action – so it’s a pretty blatant attempt to sell more reports to more parties … And b) You could argue in other markets, shipped is relevant becauseit indicates retail distribution prowess and marketing support but in the case of competing with apple in the mp3 or tablet market, clearly SHIPPED means very little and again, either this research company is clueless or purposely attempting to cloud the numbers so you might buy their 7k report. It’s not as consumers don’t recognize samsung, moto, hp, rim, etc … They simply choose not to buy a non-iPad tablet … Just like in thepast 10 years, there are plenty of non iPod mp3 choices but what do consumers choose?

    But yea, shipped means very little if u don’t sell it through. Whichis clearly what is happening as ALL android tablet makers have dropped their sales goals from tensof millions to a few hundred thousand units. Samsung pretty much admitted it took them a year to sell 1 million tablet WORLDWIDE while apple has sold 20 million in the same timeperiod.

  7. Apple’s market share of SOLD tablets for the 3rd calendar quarter will have taken a nose dive due to the large quantity of WebOS tablets sold last month. Do you think Apple cares?

    Android market share of SHIPPED tablets will have soared in the 3rd calendar quarter, because HP stopped shipping WebOS. Meanwhile, sales of Android will continue to drop as potential buyers wait for the price to drop to $99. or thereabouts; or wait for Windows 8 tablets to debut at netbook prices.

    Cook to Ballmer: “Please don’t throw me in that briar patch!”

  8. I’m thinking the iPad killers can be buried next to the Zune and near Linux, which has seemed to have one foot in the grave for 15 years. They’ll have to dig a lot of graves for the different incompatible versions of Android and Mobile Windows 7 takes so long to boot up that no one knows if it is dead or alive.

    Torrent Search

  9. And the crazy-speak continues, nearing on eight months later. Amazon doesn’t even report (refuses to) its actual sales numbers so, today, they are guess-ats or guesspeaks, I guess. Remember the sell-in and sell-out from Samsung, was it?

    There’s a lot of bellyfeel, duckspeak, newspeak and other Orwellian speak about in the news today.

    When will the rubbishspeak end so we can all agree upon a standard set of facts? I’m glad you take the stance to say it as it is. Even today, some journalists refer to the figures are though they were all “sales”.

    This important topic should be reviewed a year after its initial posting, B.B.

    1. Yes, I fear this is going to continually be an issue. I also don’t think the quarterly share reporting is helpful either. Saying that a platform gained or loss in quarterly share is disingenuous of the overall share conversation as well as the annual share conversation.

      Yet my colleagues at many analyst firms continually to do quarterly share reporting just to get attention in my opinion.

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