I’m really ashamed to admit that when Apple unveiled the very first iPad, I thought it was ridiculous. My friends and I made jokes about the iPad being nothing more than a giant, impractical iPhone, which we illustrated by holding big imaginary tablets up to our ears in mock phone calls. Yeah, what has two thumbs and gives out poor investing advice? This gal.
Not only have tablets thrived over the last two years, but they’re at their highest shipment levels yet—thanks to Apple. Worldwide tablet shipments for the second quarter of 2012 were up 66.2% over last year to 25 million units, according to a report from IDC. That’s up from 18.7 million units last quarter, and 15 million units in Q2 2011.
Surprise, surprise—Apple drove a full 68% of those sales. We already knew Apple had record high tablet sales last quarter, since the company said as much in its earnings call last week. Apple sold 17 million iPads last quarter, marking an 84% increase over the same quarter last year. This outshined analysts’ expectations of 15 million iPads sold.
The spike in sales was due to the reduced price iPad 2, which accounted for the majority of the iPad sales. The price reduction of the iPad 2 spurred its wildfire growth within specific verticals, such as education and business. Apple revealed last week that iPad use within the Fortune 500 community has tripled in the last year.
Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer also discussed the rising use of iPads in the classroom. “Sales of the reduced priced iPad 2 in the K-12 market have been strong,” said Oppenheimer, adding: “we achieved all-time record Mac sales this quarter, but we sold twice as many iPads as Macs to US educational institutions.” He cited the example of one independent school system in Texas, which purchased 11,000 iPads so that teachers could distribute them to students to “flip” their classrooms (having students watch video lessons at home and engaging with the material in the class).
But Apple wasn’t the only tablet maker to see a steep incline in its tablet sales. Samsung sold 2.4 million tablets last quarter, marking an increase of 117.6% over Q2 2011, when it sold one million tablets. Amazon rounded out third place with 1.2 million tablets sold last quarter for a 5% market share.
It will be interesting to see these numbers again next year, after Google’s Nexus 7 tablet has been on the scene for a year. On that note—it will be interesting to see these numbers again after the release of the cheaper iPad that Apple is rumored to be working on.
Earlier this year, Forrester projected that tablet sales will reach 375 million in 2016, at which point Forrester researchers believe there will be 760 million tablet users worldwide. There were 56 million tablets purchased altogether in 2011.
Image source: ipadfromusa.com