Android now claims 62 per cent of the market, with 121 million Android tablets sold worldwide in 2013, up from 53 million in 2012.
Although sales of iOS tablets grew in the fourth quarter of 2013, iOS’s share declined from 53 per cent in 2012 to 36 per cent in 2013, representing 70 million tablets sold (up from 61 million).
The market demand was driven by the improved quality of smaller low-cost tablets from vendors such as Samsung and HTC, whose products continued to expand in emerging markets.
Gartner analysts said emerging markets recorded growth of 145 per cent in 2013, while developed markets grew 31 percent.
“In 2013, tablets became a mainstream phenomenon, with a vast choice of Android-based tablets being within the budget of mainstream consumers while still offering adequate specifications,” said Roberta Cozza, Research Director at Gartner.
Gartner said that Microsoft Windows’ tablet volumes improved in 2013, but the firm’s overall share of the market remained small.
From a device vendor perspective, Apple maintained its top position in the market in 2013 – mainly due to its ability to appeal to the higher-end of the market with its desirable devices.
Samsung was the runner-up and experienced the highest growth through expansion and improvement of its Galaxy tablet portfolio, together with strong marketing and promotions.
“Apple’s tablets remain strong in the higher end of the market and, Apple’s approach will continue to force vendors to compete with full ecosystem offerings, even in the smaller-screen market as the iPad mini sees a greater share.”
Among the vendors that have a less than 6 percent share of the worldwide tablet market, Lenovo did particularly well in 2013 with tablet sales growing 198 percent.
“Lenovo‘s success is a combination of launching innovative new tablet models during the second half of 2013 and the sales of its Yoga model and Windows tablets doing particularly well,” said Isabelle Durand, Principal Research Analyst at Gartner.