Apple’s iOS tablets rebounded from two quarters of share loss to take 34 percent of the total market in the fourth quarter, Strategy Analytics said.
Fourth quarter 2013 global tablet shipments reached 76.8 million units, up 20 percent from 64 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, with Google Android-based tablets again exerting their dominance with a 62 percent market share.
Apple’s iOS tablets, including the iPad and iPad mini, rebounded from two quarters of share loss to take 34 percent of the total market in the fourth quarter.
Apple finished 2013 as the No. 1 tablet vendor with 33 percent of the total tablet market. However, archrival Samsung closed the gap by nearly doubling its share from 10 percent in 2012, to 18 percent in 2013.
"2013 was another extremely healthy year for the tablet market," Matt Wilkins, director of tablets and wearables at Strategy Analytics, said in a statement. "While it may not be a three-figure growth rate like we have witnessed previously, it is still significant considering the market is now delivering in excess of 200 million units on an annual global basis."
New products from Apple late in the year contributed to the company growing market share in the fourth quarter by almost 7 percent (relative to 2013' third quarter), therefore reversing a trend of two successive quarters of share loss.
Samsung ended the year strongly where its fourth quarter shipments were almost double the volume it shipped in one year previously in 2012's fourth quarter.
Amazon’s line of Kindle tablets placed third, selling 4.6 million units and capturing 6 percent market share, followed by Asus with 3.6 million tablets sold and 4.7 percent market share.
Lenovo captured just below 4 percent of the worldwide tablet market, selling 3 million units and landing in fifth place, while Acer sold a million tablets worldwide, good for 1.3 percent market share.
White box tablets—devices produced by one company (the manufacturer or ODM) that other companies (the vendors or OEMs) rebrand to make it appear as if they made it, accounted for the second-largest market segment, 24 percent, selling a combined 18.4 million tablets worldwide.
On an annual basis, global tablet shipments for 2013 reached 227 million units, up 33 percent from 2012, according to the report, which does not include e-book readers or convertible PCs as tablet devices.
In 2014, the worldwide tablet market is forecast to grow 47 percent with lower average selling prices attracting new users, as consumers continue to buy tablets as an additional device that they carry everywhere, according to a January report from IT research firm Gartner.
Smaller tablets are likely to take over from the larger tablet form factors, providing the added mobility that consumers desire at a lower cost and therefore would compete with hybrids for consumer attention.