Apple’s iPad Still in the Lead but Competition Quickly Gaining Market Share

Since its first release in 2010, market share for the iPad has been dwindling. In its first year, the iPad owned 85 percent of the market share of tablets. By the end of 2011, sales of the iPad had already gone down to 58 percent of the tablet market. Predictions earlier this year were that Apple was on schedule to capture 60 percent of the market, but it looks like the numbers may not quite make that mark. According to ABI research, the third quarter of 2012 shows that the iPad managed to eek out 55 percent of the market share of tablets, still higher than everyone else but not as high as everyone had hoped.

“With the introduction of a smaller, lower-cost iPad mini, Apple has acknowledged Android’s beachhead of 7-inch-class tablets, though at the same time, it has failed to deliver a knock-out punch through innovation, pricing, and availability during the most critical selling period of the year,” says senior practice director at ABI Research Jeff Orr.

It is no surprise that the iPad is loosing its domination over the tablet market. While Apple’s tablet wasn’t the first of its kind to hit the market, it was the best. Once OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) saw the popularity of the iPad, they wanted to try it, too. It’s like reality shows or physics-based games. Once the formula for success is there, everyone wants to get in on the action. Amazon’s ereader, the Kindle, existed long before the iPad, but once the multi-use tablet became the new hotness, the online retail giant followed suit with its own version.

Now, we are seeing bookstores adding their hat to the ring. Barnes & Noble just announced the Nook HD, which is the bookseller’s response to the iPad mini. Even software manufacturers are entering the market. Microsoft just started selling the Windows 8 RT-based Surface tablet.

With all of these online retailers, booksellers, and software companies adding to the pot, it is no wonder that the iPad only owns 55 percent of the market share. Its not that another tablet is on schedule to overtake the iPad for the number one spot. It is that the market is being spread out with so many choices.