iPad Sales Slow as Tablet Competitors Rise

Despite pumping another 60 million e-reading devices into the market, including 16 million iPads, Apple may be losing its grip on the tablet market.

According to a new report from ABI Research, Apple competitors grew their tablet businesses by a combined 79%, while Apple managed only 13% growth. While more Android and other tablets are entering the market than iPads today, Apple still exceeds all of its competitors combined when it comes to revenues it generates from selling tablets, according to the report.

Among e-readers in the U.S., there is some evidence that this shift is starting to have an effect. Among children, the Kindle Fire is a more popular reading device than the iPad, according to a recent report.

To be sure, when it comes to selling ebooks, Apple has seemed to have made strides against its competitors in the U.S. and, for some authors and publishers, now sells more ebooks than Barnes & Noble. Apple reportedly continues to grow in ebook sales in the U.S., while Barnes & Noble has continued to shrink.


[Press Release]

iPad Growth Slows in 2013 as Tablet Competitors Grow 79%

​In the past year Apple’s tablet OEM competitors experienced a growth of 79%, while Apple experienced only 13% growth in tablet shipments. Despite growing challenges, as the tablet market reaches saturation in advanced world markets, ABI Research projects Apple to remain a strong force in the market if it emphasizes its strengths and explores new opportunities.

ABI Research explored the history of Apple and its iPad business model, which has delivered tremendous success for Apple. “Historically, Apple has dominated the market, but the current shift in the ecosystem has raised question marks over its control and future,” says ABI Research analyst Stephanie Van Vactor. Although its competitors using Google’s Android OS have surpassed Apple’s unit volume, iPad revenues for 2013 still exceeded the rest of the market by 11%.

Apple and the tablet market have reached a fork in the road; however, opportunities to explore new avenues do exist. Apple’s creative vision has been the core of its business model and iPad implementation. Apple’s “less is more” strategy gives it the innate ability to show success in the early stages but begins to display signs of vulnerability as the market matures. Is Apple losing its momentum, or are Samsung and others catching up as consumers are presented with a variety of choices in display size, connectivity, and price?

With the right partnerships, especially in the business and education sectors, iPad could continue to expand its market reach. “Apple has the power to market to different regions where tablet adoption is low, and building relationships with business vertical sectors can help expand its breadth,” adds senior practice director Jeff Orr. Although Apple’s ASP for its iPad remains considerably higher than other tablet OEMs, it still has the advantage of offering its closed iOS ecosystem services via the iTunes app store.

The “Analysis of Apple’s Tablet Business Model” analysis is part of ABI Research’s Media Tablets, Ultrabooks and eReaders Market Research.

ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 70+ research and advisory services. Est. 1990. For more information visit www.abiresearch.com, or call +1.516.624.2500.

3 thoughts on “iPad Sales Slow as Tablet Competitors Rise

  1. Michael W. Perry

    ABI Research and their colleagues are so, so helpful. G. K. Chesterton summarized the role they play about a century ago when in poked fun at self-appointed prophets. They tell us what is going to happen, he said. The people take them ever so seriously, but then go and do something else. The prophet proves wrong.

    Those who predict tech markets strike me much the same. If they gushed excitedly about the iPad capturing the market, I’d get worried for Apple. But when they write about sales slowing, I know Apple is in great shape. Even a junior high student can figure out that a company that dominates a market can’t grow as fast as the little midgets. ABI Research is making one of the most basic of all errors, thinking the little lines on graphs will continue unchanged. That’s virtually the one thing you can be sure will not happen.

    Apple’s advantage, a strong and stable OS and well-designed app ecosystem, means that, for the foreseeable future, buying an iPad will be the smart move. Users will know that iOS will be updated for as long as their hardware is up to the change. And given the small variation is products, knowing if an app will run on your device is easy.

    In contrast, marketing staff at other companies may think that having a host of varied and constantly changing products is good for business, but it is hell for customers. They have little hope that their particular tablet will be supported for long after it drops of the market.

    My iPad mini is a good illustration. It came out over nine years ago and I still use it to listen to audiobooks over a speaker while I prepare meals. There’s no problem doing that. iTunes still supports it. Is there any other music player from 2005 for which that it true? No, in fact many of the companies that made players back them have gone out of the business.

    The same is true of Apple’s iPads. They’ll still be useful long after Samsung’s have gone out with the garbage.

  2. gus

    I’m not sure whether the analysis is interpreting the right signal from the noise. Sales are vanity/profits sanity. So many of the devices under the single banner ‘tablet’ are crap – badged by supermarkets destined to languish in drawers and not to be used to buy and consume content. Samsung seems to have a strategy of giving away the Galaxy Pad with everything from televisions to cornflakes, and these are counted as ‘sales’. There is no point in Apple debasing its brand and chasing share at the bottom end of the market for android devices. Kindle Fire is a popular platform for reading books because Amazon is the dominant ecosystem for selling books. There is an ongoing analyst obsession with Apple/Android market share where Apple’s focus is rightly on making great devices, selling them at a premium and making huge returns for its shareholders.

  3. P J Watson

    Since there was no such thing as an \iPad Mini\ nine years ago, I believe you’re referring to an \iPod.\
    I bought a first-generation iPad (new) in August 2010, paying over $500. By June 2011, Apple had updated the operating system (iOS-6) for new iPads and ceased updates, support (apart from paid technical support) and development for 1st-generation devices. The reams of app updates (notifications from the Apple Store or iTunes) that I (still) receive are applicable only only to later generations of iPad–in other words, many apps, whether \updated\ or new, are compatible only with newer devices. Apple’s products are part of an Apple ecosystem that encourages the purchase of ever more products that work primarily and best (if not only) within that ecosystem. The same is true of many other proprietary operating systems and technologies, of course; however, my point is that Apple is merely one of many. If you prefer their devices and that ecosystem, fine, and obviously they’re good at the game. My Apple iPad still functions adequately, though the display isn’t reliable (and I take good care of my devices). Its useful only as an audio, video, and e-reading device. The Apple apps that I paid for–such as the word-processing software–no longer work on the device: updated versions have made them obsolete.
    I now also own a Nexus 7 (made by Asus) that works better, does more, is compatible with more apps and other ecosystems, and whose hardware is continually and automatically updated. It cost me $249 in Nov. 2011. You can have your Apple, and eat it too. But you can’t expect it to last forever.



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