New shipment data from IDC shows that Apple's share of the overall tablet market has fallen to just over 50%. Meanwhile, Samsung, Amazon, and Asus have seen their shares of the tablet market explode. The entire market for tablets grew 49.5% since the third quarter of 2012.
"After a very strong second quarter, Apple saw growth slow as both consumer and commercial (including education) shipments declined, and rumors of a forthcoming iPad mini began to heat up," said Tom Mainelli, research director for tablets at IDC. "We believe a sizable percentage of consumers interested in buying an Apple tablet sat out the third quarter in anticipation of an announcement about the new iPad mini. Now that the new mini, and a fourth-generation full-sized iPad, are both shipping we expect Apple to have a very good quarter. However, we believe the mini's relatively high $329 starting price leaves plenty of room for Android vendors to build upon the success they achieved in the third quarter."
Apple just today announced that it has sold three million new iPads (iPad 4) during its first three days of availability. The iPad Mini has failed to garner the same excitement other Apple product have seen. Android tablet makers have capitalized on this fact, with Amazon even running an aggressive homepage comparison between the iPad Mini and its Kindle Fire HD.
Still, Apple is shipping over half of all tablets. Samsung is racing to catch up and currently has an 18.4% share of the tablet market. This is up from 6.5% just one year ago. Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets account for a full 9% of tablets shipped, with Asus, the makers of Google's Nexus 7 tablet, close behind with 8.6%.
It's clear that the low-priced mini-tablet market is going to become a big part of the overall tablet market in the coming year. It's also clear that Apple was late to the mini-tablet game, and that it may have priced itself too high for that particular market.