Worldwide tablet shipments outpaced predictions reaching a record total of 52.5 million units worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12), according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. The tablet market grew 75.3% year over year in 4Q12 (up from 29.9 million units in 4Q11) and increased 74.3% from the previous quarter's total of 30.1 million units. Lower average selling prices (ASPs), a wide range of new product offerings, and increased holiday spending all acted as catalysts to push the already climbing tablet market to record levels.
Apple led the pack with shipments of 22.9 million iPads in the last quarter of 2012. That is a 48.1% improvement year-over-year. Samsung shipped nearly 8 million tablets. A 263% improvement year-over-year.
Rounding out the top 5 vendors was Amazon with 6 million units shipped, ASUS with 3.1 million units shipped, and Barnes & Noble with 1.0 million units shipped.
IDC noted that "Microsoft and its partners need to quickly adjust to the market realities of smaller screens and lower prices. In the long run, consumers may grow to believe that high-end computing tablets with desktop operating systems are worth a higher premium than other tablets, but until then ASPs on Windows 8 and Windows RT devices need to come down to drive higher volumes."
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