Tablet shipments jump 304 percent in second quarter

Apple is still leading the way in total tablet shipments, earning 68.3 percent of the market, according to new research from IDC.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
3 min read
The iPad 2 reigns supreme in the tablet space.
The iPad 2 reigns supreme in the tablet space. Apple

The tablet market is growing faster than expected, new research released today by IDC has found.

According to the research firm, 13.6 million tablets were shipped worldwide in the second quarter, representing an 88.9 percent gain over the first quarter of 2011. Even more impressive, that figure was up a whopping 303.8 percent compared to the second quarter of 2010.

Such strong performance has prompted IDC to revise its PC shipment forecast up. The research firm now believes that 62.5 million tablets will hit store shelves this year, rather than its previous projection of 53.5 million units.

IDC's findings on tablet shipments stand in stark contrast to what the company announced yesterday about PC shipments. The research firm said that total PC shipments this year will only be up 2.8 percent, compared to 2010. What's more, PC shipment growth in 2012 will only hit 9.3 percent.

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Of course, that's partly due to the fact that PCs have been around for a long time, and as more computers enter the market, huge growth is harder to maintain. However, the research firm also pointed out that mobile devices, like tablets and smartphones, are increasingly hurting desktop and laptop sales.

"With the excitement of mini notebooks largely past, the PC industry has struggled to come up with compelling features to keep buyer interest, and has subsequently suffered some budget-competition from smartphones as well as media tablets...in the second quarter of 2011," IDC senior research analyst Jay Chou said in a statement yesterday.

That sentiment was echoed by another research firm, Gartner, last week. That company said that its research has indicated that "media tablets have dramatically changed the dynamic of the PC market."

The key agent of change appears to be Apple's iPad 2. According to IDC's findings, Apple shipped 9.3 million iPads during the second quarter, helping it to secure 68.3 percent market share. Android-based tablets, on the other hand, trailed far behind the iPad 2, securing a collective 26.8 percent market share. The BlackBerry PlayBook from Research In Motion came in at 4.9 percent market share.

Even better for Apple, it looks like its dominance will only continue in the coming months. Jennifer Song, research analyst at IDC, said that "Apple's iOS share will continue to lead by more than 40 percentage points over Google's Android for the remainder of the year."

A quick look at e-readers
IDC also took a quick look at e-readers. The research firm found that 5.4 million e-readers shipped last quarter, down 9 percent compared to the first quarter of 2011. However, year-over-year growth was 167 percent.

Amazon's Kindle led the market with 51.7 percent market share during the second quarter, followed by Barnes & Noble's Nook at 21.2 percent share.

Looking ahead, IDC says that the e-reader space will grow quite rapidly over the next two quarters, reaching total 2011 shipments of 27 million units. The research firm originally expected 16.2 million e-readers to hit store shelves this year.