Tablet market wars: will Google defeat Apple this holiday season?

by: Varun RajDecember 8, 2012

We have seen plethora of tablet launches including the iPad Mini and Nexus 7 this holiday season. Tablets in general have seen a splurge in sales this year. Retailers such as the PC World and Curry’s are already highly bullish on the demand for the tablet and have seen sales up by a whopping 1,000% year on year. The two retailers also claimed to sell almost one tablet with every tick of the clock during this cyber Monday! And to top it, they are still expecting sale of one tablet per two seconds till Christmas.

It seems that Apple could be easily ousted from its top position this year. The market has now opened up to wider customer segments by a variety of options available at prices that are suitable to every segment. The major players playing a key role in this market shift are Google’s Nexus 7, Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD and the Barnes and Noble Nook, along with others that were launched earlier this year. Matt Leeser, head of buying for communication technology at John Lewis said, “Sales of Apple’s iPad and iPad Mini are very strong, but this is the first Christmas we have seen real rivals to Apple on different platforms, including Android and Windows 8.” He also added that, “Tablets such as the Google Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD and Nook HD have all exploded on to the market and are selling very well.”

It is particularly interesting to note what has to say. It expects that the sexy 32GB Google Nexus will pull down Apple from its current top spot. This may be the case as Google’s world class Android tablet comes at a very competitive price as compared to other tablets in the market. Other retailers have a similar opinion on tablet sales this year. Argos also has a similar expectation as it believes that people want to have their own tablets individually instead of sharing one in a household, which is yet another factor which is fueling this growth in sales further. Cases in point are the Nabi and Innotab 2, which are exclusively made for children and retail at £149.99 and £84.99 respectively in the UK.

Previously, we highlighted that Tech-Thoughts is estimating that Google’s sales figures for the Nexus 7 might be anywhere between 6 and 8 million during 2012. According to sources at parts manufacturers, actual sales figures have shocked Google. Originally, 2.5 million units were predicted to be sufficient to get them through 2012, but Google has now placed an additional order of 2.5 million. Asus has told The Wall Street Journal that the Nexus 7 was nearing 1 million in sales per month. On the other hand, Apple announced that it had sold a total of 3 million iPads in just three days, a record for first-weekend iPad sales according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. The company is said to have sold nearly 60 million iPads during its 2012 fiscal year.

It is hard to comment exactly who could be the leader of the tablet market, but we think that there is a high probability of Google winning the throne this year. We have our arguments for this. Any company that’s able to manufacture tablet hardware can support Google’s operating system and make an Android tablet. However, this is not true with Apple. Google’s tablets are light and small, but someone who has experienced the retina screen on the iPad might find the non-retina screen of other similar products grainy. On the other hand, Android tablets, which flock the market every few weeks, compete on price, size and a host of flexible features in addition to the display, which is very decent as well.

We would like to know your thoughts and comments on the market leader for the tablets. Do you think Google can outpace Apple this year? Share your views with us.

  • IncCo

    Not even close most likely. Unfortunately

    • APai

      while you maybe right, I’m actually willing to wait and see how it actually pans out. if you see the last couple of months – there’s been a perfect attack by the triumvirate of google/ amazon/ B&N – all their products are competitive

  • Three simple points:

    1. It’s not a surprise to see Apple products such as the iPad Mini or iPad 4 sell so well the first month. I mean MANY (not all) Apple loyalists want to latest and greatest iDevice when it comes out, so they’re going to buy it. Plus consumers who wanted an iPad, but in a 7 inch for a long time now have finally got what they wanted (sort of speak) and are buying it. It never surprises me that iDevices sell quickly.

    2. On the other hand, more consumers have been looking at Android and Windows 8 Mobile OS this year than in years past and that is especially clear when you look at the hot selling Nexus devices which in this case is the Nexus 7 that came out back in July. I would say that the Nexus 7 has already been a hit and Christmas sales will only add to the already widely popular Nexus 7 sales.

    3. Personally on a side note, I bought the Nexus 7 (16GB) just before the $25 Google Credit expired for new sales and I’ve never looked back especially when it comes to getting the latest software upgrade such as pure Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean within a month or two of its release. You just can’t beat that. I don’t want the latest and greatest device, but I do want the latest software update I can get within a reasonable period of time.

    So in this comparison, it doesn’t matter if the Nexus 7 beats the iPad Mini this Christmas season or not because its already sold millions of them since July and the real victory for the Nexus 7 and Android has already come with some many consumers choosing it over other tablets.

  • Napalm

    I wonder how sales of the Nexus 10 are going? I just bought one last week as a gift.

    • Justin W

      I’m interested in sales numbers – those are the true story that the public wants to hear about. The same goes with the Nexus 4 as with the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 – we don’t want to know that it’s out of stock, we want to know how many were made that have sold already. /rant.

    • RarestName

      I want one!

  • Doan

    It’s great to see Android (and Android-based) tablets gaining momentum, but I don’t think it’s Android’s time to take the tablet throne.

    Not yet, that is.

    • Michael Lee

      Android shall eventually overthrown Apple! Just… Not today.

      • Jared Persinger

        Well as far as tablets go Android still has a little ways to go

  • For roid to me Nexus is the only option.

  • I don’t think Google has ordered just 5M Nexus 7’s….

  • Darktanone

    This one’s easy. My bet is on Apple. The Nexus 7 is no real competition. Just a lot of hype.

    • Trolol

      “Just a lot of hype” Hey, isn’t that how apple sold the iPhone 5?

      • RarestName

        But have you personally used one for yourself?

        • Jared Persinger

          Yes and although it is a nice phone, it isn’t worth the hype

          • RarestName

            Agreed. In fact, why are smartphones hyped till people insult, mock and argue over them? I don’t get it.

          • Doan

            It’s a pride thing:

            When someone buys something, especially something costing, potentially, hundreds of dollars, that they’ll be seen using every day, they don’t want to look like a fool who bought an inferior product to what else is available.

            Because of this, they can’t (won’t) admit that a competing product can be just as good, or better, than what they have. If that were the case, they would’ve purchased the better product, right?

          • I dunno. You just don’t see the same level of HATRED between other brand rivals.

  • Neal

    Isn’t this article a blatant copy of a Guardian news article?

    • RarestName

      IT’S NOT COPYING IF IT’S BETTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!11 1


      Just kidding.

  • Carl_Barlson

    No, at least not this year. The iPad mini and iPad (Late 2012/4th Gen) will still be on everyone’s wish list.

    • Marvin Nakajima

      True, it may be on the wish list but due to the current state of the economy it may just remain a ‘wish’ and an Android device purchased in its place.

  • melody

    well, I never had any tablet. might buy one in future.
    but tbh, at firsht sight, ipad design is always striking to me than any other tablet.
    not that I plan to buy one tho, just saying from a non-techie perspective.

    no wonder ipad sell well. most people usually didn’t care about tech inside tablet.

    of course, if I take account the component inside tablet, I’ll definitely buy android tablet any day. or surface pro, when they become cheaper later..

  • jo

    ipads will continue number one, in the us anyway, because most Americans are too lazy and stupid to research. so, they go with what they have heard of, and what little Timmy wants for Christmas. im American by the way.

    • APai

      not so sure about that. until the carrier subsidy stays the market will be irrational like you have stated. however, remove the carrier subsidy, the market would react much like the rest of the world – look for good bargains and vote for the best value for money device. it’s recession time too, gotta wait and watch if the fabled “american” model of consumption has taken a hit.

      • Marvin Nakajima

        I agree that iOS phones would be hurt more by the loss of carrier subsidies than Android due to the base price on average being higher.

  • APai

    not so sure, but we might see some big surprises this season. apple invests heavily in advertisements and they have been a juggernaut rolling since many years now. also ipad is a proven product, nexus 7 has just about come on its own. android tablets have been taking off only this year. so, probably, it would be prudent not to expect a miracle for android. nevertheless this season would be the most crucial for apple – any loss of a critical market share would hurt them the most. android players have nothing to lose

    • Marvin Nakajima

      Based on the other comments here I’m thinking it will be a very close race with the outcome uncertain. Looking at the situation broadly with the iPad models starting at $329 (mini) and $499 (new ipad) vs. Android models from various OEMs ranging from ~$99 for children’s tablets running ICS and ~$290 for the average 7″-10″ tablet, it will come down to price and marketing. With large outlets like ToysRUs,Walmart, Best Buy, etc. marketing both OS’s tablets Apple ads will not have as big an impact as in the past holiday seasons.

  • aholsteinson

    In my case Google won as I will be getting the 32GB Nexus 7. As a whole tho, I don’t think so but that said, Google doesn’t has to, at least not this time around. They just need to do darn well and it is near certain that they will. What Google currently needs is for their Nexus line to pick up a lot of steam and becomes mainstream. This appears to be happening with the Nexus 4 being sold out and the huge demand for the Nexus 7. Things are looking quite well for Google.

  • Kindroid

    Android tablets don’t have to defeat iPads….they just have to make a strong showing. This is about the long game.

  • I really want to buy a Android tablet after using my note 2 for a while, but there is no good one for me at the moment, just wait another year to see what Samsung can give us.

    • mggiphone

      Note2 is almost a tablet. You can wait. How about the rest of people wanting something more than a 3.5″ or 4″ phone screen ?

  • Everybody in the family may want their own tablet, but the Nexus 7 is actually the first tablet that everyone in the family can share, each with their own login and individual settings. I think this is a huge advantage over iPad.

  • Sean McIntyre

    I am torn. I love android and believe that it’s superior but I don’t want to carry a cheap piece of plastic around with me. If google will give me quality hardware then I’m sold

    • mggiphone

      I do have the Nexus7 and it is great. Not cheap at all. The missing part is cases and stands.

      • Sean McIntyre

        Have you had a chance to compare it to an ipad? Is it the 7″ model and if so, how do you find the smaller screen?

  • jesikah

    Probably not this year, but then again, I am an avowed Mac Geek who saved for an iPad forever, BUT when I finally saved enough I chose a Nexus 7.