Apple and Samsung are Squeezing Everyone Else Out of the Global Tablet Market

For a while, the swarm of carbon copy competitors successfully eroded the iPad's dominant marketshare. But after a flurry of frenzied launches from frantic manufacturers, the dust has settled. In 2012, there are only two relevant tablet makers on a global scale: Samsung and Apple.

Apple grew iPad shipments by an impressive 84% year-over-year in the second quarter, according to new data from IDC, resulting in more than 17 million shipments. This allowed Apple to recapture some of its lost marketshare from competitors, rising from less than 62% to over 68% from 2011 to 2012.

"Apple built upon its strong March iPad launch and ended the quarter with its best-ever shipment total for the iPad, outrunning even the impressive shipment record it set in the fourth quarter of last year," said Tom Mainelli, research director, Mobile Connected Devices. "The vast majority of consumers continue to favor the iPad over competitors, and Apple is seeing increasingly strong interest in the device from vertical markets."

Samsung tablet shipments grew by 117%. The company still only shipped 2.4 million units—Apple sales outnumber Samsung's seven to one—but that was good enough for a strong second-place hold. Samsung now has nearly 10% marketshare, up from 7% in 2011.

But the real story lies in where this marketshare is being siphoned from. Asus was the only other company to grow its global tablet shipments, and it shipped less than one million devices to gain less than 1% more marketshare. Meanwhile, the "other" category, which includes RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook, got absolutely clobbered: marketshare was sliced in half, down from 24% to 12% in a single year.

Overall, IDC estimates that 25 million tablets were shipped globally last quarter, a net growth of 66% YOY. But it's clear that tablets are a two-horse race for now.

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