The fierce battle between Apple and Samsung in the smart phone segment will spread to the tablet arena in 2014. According WitsView, the display research division of the global intelligence provider TrendForce, the two giant brands show distinct strategies in the tablet business units as Apple retains a conservative defendant measure to secure profits and Samsung sees shipment expansion as top priority with the urge to grow actively. With different strategy execution and effects, the shipment volumes of these two will be approaching with a market share gap narrowing to less than 10% in Q1 this year.
WitsView’s senior research director Eric Chiou says Apple iPad’s 4Q13 shipment lifted to 26 million units with two flagship items joining in, lighter and slimmer iPad Air and higher-resolution iPad mini Retina, after a sales pause. Despite of a record-high shipment in 4Q13, it couldn’t avoid a dropping market share from 43.9% in 2012 to 37.8% in 2013. The high-priced iPad this year has to not only confront the price-cutting competition from Android tablets, but face the clash with low-priced Windows 8 NBs, suggesting the overwhelming threat to the American brand’s superiority.
Chiou adds that Samsung, catching up with Apple, refreshed a historical shipment record in 4Q13, 13 million units, with the market share rising rapidly from 10.9% in 2012 to 21.5% in 2013, holding the No.2 place. Following the sales performance, Samsung in the beginning of the year revealed Galaxy Tab Pro aiming at the mid-and high-end market and recently introduces Galaxy Tab Lite which shares the entry-level low-priced segment. In view of the model lineup and launch schedule, Samsung demonstrates its strong ambition in the tablet market.
Based on all the factors mentioned above, WitsView projects tablet shipments for Apple and Samsung are respectively 80 million and 70 million units for this year, with a gap trimming to 10 million units. Besides, due to the slow season effect, most brands have inventory adjustment as priority while Samsung is likely to benefit the new model distribution and enjoy reverse shipment growth. The two leaders’ market share difference will further shrink to less than 10 percentage points in 1Q14.
[Graph] Tablet Market Share – Apple VS Samsung