Record Apple iPad sales contributed to an overall strong second quarter for the tablet market, IDC said in an Aug. 2 statement, reporting preliminary results. While firm totals will arrive later in August, IDC estimated that 25 million tablets shipped during the quarter, up from 18.7 million during the first quarter and 15 million a year ago.
Apple is estimated to have shipped 17 million iPads during the quarter, beating even its holiday-timed high of 15.4 million units during the fourth quarter of 2011.
The vast majority of consumers continue to favor the iPad over competitors, Tom Mainelli, an IDC research director, said in an Aug. 2 statement, and Apple is seeing increasingly strong interest in the device from vertical marketsespecially education.
During Apples second-quarter earnings call, Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer, talking up Apples new all-time quarterly record for iPad sales, went into some detail about the tremendous momentum the iPad is enjoying in schools. A school district in Texas, he said, had purchased 11,000 iPads, one for each teacher and student. Some teachers will use a flipped-classroom concept, Oppenheimer explained, putting their lessons and resources online, where students can access them any time on their iPads.
On a regional note, IDC added that, while iPad shipments are beginning to slow to mature markets, growth in other regions is clearly more than making up the difference.
The tablet love wasnt exclusive to Apple. Samsung, in second place, shipped 2.4 million units during the quarter, up from 1.1 million a year ago. Amazon, after first-quarter sales plummeted from its holiday high, rallied during the second quarter, shipping 1.2 million units, despite shipping only within the United States. Fourth-place Asus also enjoyed relatively strong shipments, which at 855,454 units, was more than double the 397,048 it shipped a year ago.
Only fifth-place Acer experienced a dip in sales, shipping 385,458 units, compared with 629,222 units a year ago.
IDC notes that sales of the Asus-made, Google-branded Nexus 7, which Google introduced at its I/O developers conference in June, arent counted in its totals, as the tablet officially began shipping during the third quarter.
While the second quarter delivered many a reason for popping champagne, the second half of 2012 is expected to bring the fireworks.
In addition to major new products from Amazon, and quite likely Apple, we can also expect an influx of Microsoft Windows 8 and Windows RT-based tablets starting in late October, Bob ODonnell, IDC program vice president of clients and displays, said in the statement.
The options this holiday season may actually be so great, theres a risk that consumers will feel overwhelmed. This, said ODonnell, could work in Apples favor.
Consumers baffled by the differences between Amazon and Google versions of Android, or Windows 8 and Windows RT, may well default to market leader Apple, ODonnell explained. Or they may simply choose to remain on the sidelines for another cycle.