iPad Drove Record Tablet Sales in Second Quarter: IDC

Apple shipped 17 million iPads during the second quarter, beating its all-time high and leading a quarter during which Samsung, Amazon and Asus also saw tablet shipments rise. And the year is expected to only get better.

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.

€œThe vast majority of consumers continue to favor the iPad over competitors,€ Tom Mainelli, an IDC research director, said in an Aug. 2 statement, €œand Apple is seeing increasingly strong interest in the device from vertical markets€”especially education.€

During Apple€™s second-quarter earnings call, Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer, talking up Apple€™s €œnew all-time quarterly record€ for iPad sales, went into some detail about the €œtremendous 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. €œSome teachers will use a flipped-classroom concept,€ Oppenheimer explained, €œputting 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, €œgrowth in other regions is clearly more than making up the difference.€

The tablet love wasn€™t 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 developer€™s conference in June, aren€™t 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.

€œIn 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 O€™Donnell, IDC program vice president of clients and displays, said in the statement.

The options this holiday season may actually be so great, there€™s a risk that consumers will feel overwhelmed. This, said O€™Donnell, could work in Apple€™s favor.

€œConsumers baffled by the differences between Amazon and Google versions of Android, or Windows 8 and Windows RT, may well default to market leader Apple,€ O€™Donnell explained. €œOr they may simply choose to remain on the sidelines for another cycle.€

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