Samsung closes the gap on Apple in the tablet market

by: Robert TriggsFebruary 4, 2014

Galaxy Note 8 vs iPad Mini aa (4) -600px

The tablet figures for 2013 are in, courtesy of research firm Strategy Analytics, and it’s been another good year for Samsung. The number one smartphone manufacturer continues to close in on its main rival, Apple, in the tablet space.

For starters, Samsung’s marketshare grew two fold in 2013 to a very healthy 18.3 percent, with tablet shipments rising to 41.7 million for the year. Despite the strong growth in the company’s tablet market share, 18.3 percent still falls well short of Apple’s 33 percent share. Speaking of Apple, the company also saw an increase in sales over 2013, with shipments up 8.5 million units to 74.2 million iPads in total. However, Apple’s share of the tablet market actually shrunk by 5.7%, despite the increase in shipments, due to faster rates of growth in Android products. In other words, Samsung’s market share increased whilst Apple’s fell, so the gap is closing.

Microsoft’s Windows-powered tablets also gained some ground throughout 2013, although the company is still far behind the other two. Windows tablets shipped 11 million units and now account for 4.8 percent of the market, a significant rise from 2.5 million units in 2012.

It’s been a very good year for Android in general too, Google’s operating system continues its dominance over Apple and Microsoft, accounting for around a 62 percent share of the tablet market throughout 2013. In the fourth quarter of 2013, Android tablets secured a substantial 61.8 percent of the market, followed by Apple’s iPad with a 35.6 percent share, and Windows-powered models were left with just 3.3 percent. Q4 2013 was pretty representative of the year as a whole, below is a summary of each company’s marketshare and tablet shipments for 2013.

Tablet Marketshare 2013

Overall, another excellent year for Android, and particularly for Samsung, whilst Apple holds relatively steady, and Microsoft’s Windows platform flounders in last position. Business as usual then.

But the market news isn’t over yet, Strategy Analytics also published some interesting statistics that reveal in which regions each of the big two companies is dominating. Apple still holds the lion’s share of the market in strong economic regions such as North America, West Europe, and Asia-Pacific, as is represented by the company’s larger overall market share. However, Samsung is actually now leading Apple in the emerging economic regions.

Samsung Electronics is the largest seller of tablets in Latin America, Central-Eastern Europe, and Africa-Middle East, controlling a 22.8 percent, 25 percent and 18.3 percent of these markets respectively. Apple, on the other hand, falls slightly behind, with figures of 22.3 percent, 22.5 percent and 17.7 percent in each of the regions. It’s a close fight, but a rather substantial departure from the global picture.

2013 Tablet Marketshare Emerging Markets

Market analysts are attributing Apple’s slide in market presence to the company’s once-per-year tablet refresh cycle, and they believe that the company is therefore is failing to keep the pace with rivals Android and Microsoft. The other two companies are both pumping out multiple new devices each year, which is supposedly enticing Apple customers who are looking for new pieces of technology.

Strategy Analytics expects that the gap between Samsung and Apple will continue to narrow throughout 2014. The company states that Samsung is expected to ship 14.6 million tablets in the first quarter of 2014, which will take the company up to 23.3 percent of the global market. This will further narrow the gap with Apple, which is estimated to maintain a steady market share of around 33.2 percent.

  • wat


  • Tanner Hoyt

    But of course! I mean, with quality tablets like the Tab 3 line, who would buy anything else? -.-

    • mrjayviper

      let’s not forget the gazillion Galaxy tablet models for every budget! :D

      • iFaitPlay

        Is that bad, or good for you?

    • filaos

      Nice sarcasm

  • Shark Bait

    that’s funny, Samsung sold 4 times as many tablets as all the windows party! LOL

    • iFaitPlay

      Actually the media and Analytics always play with the words , when they speak about Windows tablets.
      Some times they count only RT as Windows tablets. Sometimes they count full Windows tablets like only PC, sometimes they count them like tablets(to bush the PCs). LOL
      It depend what manipulation they wanna make to serve Apple propaganda.

  • tech4life

    It would be nice to see another name rise other than Samsung but that probably won’t happen any time soon.

    • Cole Raney

      I agree. I would like someone other than Samsung and amazon rise. Amazon used to be the top android tablet maker, but I hate that forked version of android they have.

  • mobilemann

    I don’t know why anyone would buy an android tablet. Honestly. lol.

    • Cole Raney

      Because they are awesome. My nexus 10 has impressed me quite a bit. Windows tablets look good, but are too expensive most of the time. iOS is just way too limiting.

      • mobilemann

        Well RT isn’t, but then you’re stuck in the same boat. There’s nothing you can’t do with iOS really, especially currently, you’re just making stuff up. You should probably stop.

        • Cole Raney

          I don’t even really count RT as windows. It suffers even more than iOS on the being limited part. Although the Dell venue 8 pro is decent at a low cost. I am not making stuff up. Where is NFC on the iPad? How about the ability to side load apps? I can still get flash on android by side loading it.

          • mobilemann

            kids. When was the last time you bought something with a tablet? You can sideload on iOS with profiles (unjailbroken) or through jailbreaking. Again, stop talking about what you clearly don’t know / use.

          • Jayfeather787

            Can you flash a ROM/overclock on an iPad? Didn’t think so…

          • mobilemann

            actually i flashed froyo on my 3g:D I use android for my phones (note 3).

            but you consider not being able to OC a limiting factor in a device? The largest carrier where i live (Verizon’s) devices all have locked boot loaders anyway, so i can’t OC them either. (coverage is by far the best with them in terms of LTE)

            I more mean actual tasks, and android’s tablet app selection is anemic compared to iOS’s, so there’s probably less you can do. (although i can’t wait for it to be better, the ifttt location app is woefully inadequate / doesn’t work most of the time)

            but i’ll get voted down on this, because i’m not a fanboy.

          • Memphis May [S]unjay

            You need to jailbreak in order to sideload, this makes it limiting.

          • mobilemann

            why reply when you didn’t read my post? You can side load with profiles. unjailbroken. It’s how most iOS users who want them, get emulators.

          • Memphis May [S]unjay

            Sorry, I didn’t know what Profiles was. I’ll look into it for my iPad.

          • mobilemann
          • Memphis May [S]unjay

            Lol, thanks. I didn’t know that you could do that.

          • iFaitPlay

            How could you even mention the word “iOS”, and compare , when we are talking about Windows(not RT) tablets? Ignorant.

          • iFaitPlay

            Dell venue 11 pro is best !

  • iFaitPlay

    As soon(and it will be soon) , as Windows 8 tablet-PC-hybrids (not RT), start to win huge the market, all the tech media and apple’s Analytics will stop to refer to them as tablets, but PCs , so Apple again to look better on the toy-tablet market.
    But then come their own trap: how could they repeat the iBS about the end of the PC-era? LOL