Research firm IDC has released the latest tablet shipment numbers for the first quarter of 2012, and it’s not what the Android crowd has been waiting to hear. According to IDC, worldwide tablet shipments dropped by 38% compared to the previous quarter, with Amazon’s Kindle Fire suffering the steepest drop and Apple’s iPad reasserting its dominance.

Out of the 17.4 million units of tablets that were shipped in Q1 2012, 68% came from Apple’s camp, which means Apple has shipped 11.8 million iPads in the January – March period. The Kindle Fire, meanwhile, saw its share plummet from 16.8% to just 4%. Taking over Kindle Fire is Samsung’s horde of tablets, as the Korean company leaped to second place, followed by Lenovo at number four, and Barnes & Noble on the fifth place.

IDC research director Tom Mainelli said that the huge drop experienced by the Kindle Fire is due to people hesitating to buy a tablet, now that the holiday season has come and gone. Apple, on the other hand, was lauded for its strategic move of lowering the iPad 2’s price after the launch of the new iPad in March. With Android-based tablets losing their mojo, a particularly strong sales performance in Q1 2012 helped Apple offset the financial losses.

It’s not all doom and gloom for Android tablets, though. IDC predicts that the numbers will quickly rebound in the second quarter, with many companies introducing their latest Android tablets at lowered price points. It’s a trend that IDC believes was jumpstarted by the likes of Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Mainelli said that IDC expects Amazon to release “a new, larger-screened device at a typically aggressive price point,” and that “Google will enter the market with an inexpensive, co-branded ASUS tablet designed to compete directly on price with Amazon’s Kindle Fire.”

Though worldwide tablet shipments fell in Q1 2012, let’s not jump yet to the conclusion that the tablet’s popularity among consumers is waning. Worldwide tablet shipments still grew at a respectable 120% year-over-year rate.

What’s your take on this report?

Bams Sadewo
Sade has an addiction, and it is incurable. Being as furiously addicted as he is mobile technology, it's only natural that he would want to work with the best Android site in the world. He scours the internet at all hours of the day and night to bring you the freshest, most interesting news on the rapidly expanding world of Android!
  • bau

    I think that most of potential buyers are waiting for the release of the new Google tablet; at least this is me. I won’t buy any tablet until June, or whatever month it will be. It other potential buyers act as same, this could explain why the sales of tablet (of the kindle class) slowed down.
    However for me, IDC appears to release biased reports in favor of Apple. We cannot verify these figures, so we “should” believe they are true. Interesting how IDC forecasted a very slow pace of penetrating the tablet’s market in 2012-2016…
    It would be very useful if we could save this article, thus after a while to verify if indeed Android registered lower sales co;pared with Apple’s in this period.

  • AppleFUD

    This drop was expected. It is called holiday shopping. They estimated a 34% drop however there was a 38% drop over all. We must also remember that the Kindle Fire sold much better than expected in the previous quarter, something like 5.8 million and that was generally thought to be a total year’s worth of sales before it arrived, and when did the iPad (3) arrive again?

    We are currently looking at a very old crop of Android tablets that, honestly, weren’t all that good in the first place. I think many people are considering Win8 or waiting for properly powered Android tablets with a proper OS to hit the market — A15 SoC + ICS anyone? Not to mention Asus pretty much dropped the ball with the Transformer this time around, and few of the Tegra 2 tablets have seen significant price drops to make them worthy of buying over waiting for a good quad-core or A15 setup.

    So, in the end apple’s share for a quarter jumps a little and that’s the quarter they release their new version and suddenly it’s all doom and gloom for everyone else? Gotta love analysts.

  • AppleFUD

    For clarification:

    the info is incorrectly interpreted. Shipments Vs Sales.


    Kindle Fire sold 1.8M in the quarter and 3.8M in the previous previous holiday quarter. Not bad at all for a low spec tablet sold ONLY in the US. The ipad’s sales dropped significantly also (down nearly 6M) from the previous quarter and barley surpassed sales of two quarters ago — I guess we should all start saying the ipad is dead?

    This is especially important with the ipad considering they just released the new ipad and usually 70% of the first quarter sales for a new ipad are upgraders — not looking good for the ipad there is it? And they dropped the ipad 2 price by a $100 bucks — guess no one is biting on that either??? Wow, that would put the current ‘new user’ sales of the ipad for the last quarter around 3m?!?!? For how many countries? Talk about dropping off a cliff! Guess tablets are dead or everyone is waiting for Win8 tablets or A15 ICS Android tablets!

    See, we can all make things look ridiculous :)

    However, one has to wonder just how well the Kindle Fire would be doing if sold in as many countries as the ipad.

  • C+

    The ” sudden ” drop in the sales of the Kindle Fire might just have something to do with the Fire not having been officially sold outside of the US of A vians .com land and the widespread rumors about the forthcoming release – International Release ? – of the Kindle Fire 2 in two incarnations with one being of a similar size to the New I Pad but at half its price.So ..who is going to buy a tablet that is due to be replaced in a couple of months?

    Gods ! Don’t your Financial journalists ever actually read the News and do basic research?

  • mark

    People are getting their knickers in a knot about a non issue. The iPad share gains came almost entirely came from Kindle Fire – the one adding 13.3 points and the other falling 12.8 points. The rest of Android – the majority being Google Android – held up their share. Frankly I think that is pretty impressive.

  • Natural market forces at work as companies with the means, such as Apple, and soon Microsoft with their Nook investment, erode into the sales of Amazon’s initial natural monopoly. This is good for the eBook market under classic capitalist economic theory. But, hey, in this age of bailouts and DOJ pricefixing investigations, what’s classic about capitalist economic theory anymore?