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iPad and Kindle Fire both strong in recent quarter, says IDC

Tablet shipments surged in the fourth quarter thanks to both Apple and Amazon.

iPad 2 and Kindle Fire.  Apple dominated in the fourth quarter but Amazon fared well too.
iPad 2 and Kindle Fire. Apple dominated in the fourth quarter but Amazon fared well too.

Lest we forget, Apple still has some competition. Though IDC confirmed big shipment numbers for Apple, the market researcher said Amazon made a good showing too.

Global tablet shipments into "sales channels" rose by 56 percent on a sequential basis in the fourth calendar quarter of 2011 to 28.2 million units, according to IDC.

That represents a whopping 155 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2010.

IDC tablet shipment highlights:

  • In 2011, tablet shipments reached 68.7 million.
  • In 2012, shipments will be 106.1 million, up from 87.7 million in previous forecast.
  • Apple shipped 15.4 million iPads in Q4*, garnering 55 percent of the global market.
  • Amazon shipped 4.7 million Kindle Fire tablets in Q4, grabbing 16.8 percent.
  • Third-place Samsung grew its share to 5.8 percent in Q4.
  • Barnes & Noble saw its Nook tablet share slip to 3.5 percent.
*Fourth calendar quarter 2011.

Amazon shipped 4.7 million Kindle Fires (see chart) into the market in the fourth quarter, making an "impressive" tablet debut, IDC said.

But Apple maintained a big lead, shipping 15.4 million units in the quarter, up from 11.1 million units in the third quarter.

The Kindle Fire--which runs a custom version of Google's Android operating system--grew its share of the Android market to 44.6 percent in the fourth quarter from 32.3 percent in the third quarter. As a result, Apple's iOS slipped from 61.6 percent market share to 54.7 percent of the total tablet market.

Based upon expectations for a spike in demand in 2012, IDC upped its 2012 forecast to 106.1 million units, up from its previous forecast of 87.7 million units.