Android tablets outsell iPads for the first time as smaller tablets rock the market

Android tablets are outselling iPads for the first time in history, according to a Sept. 27 ABI release. There are now more Android-based tablets in our hands, and they're pulling in more revenues for retailers and manufacturers. In the first half of 2013, the two genera of tablet split the $12.7 billion-dollar market 50/50, with Android continuing to pull forward.

Furthermore, the average selling price of all Android tablets rose by 17% from 2Q 2012 to 2Q 2013. iPads mirrored this with a 17% drop in average selling price, but that drop is mainly attributable to an overall market volume shift towards smaller tablets, which cost less than full-size tablets. iPad minis now account for 60% of all iPad shipments and 49% of iPad revenues. The release did not indicate a size class breakdown for Android tablets, but a large sample of tablets running Animoca apps indicated 7-inch Android-operated tablets far outnumbered their 10-inch siblings.

Shipments for all tablets grew by 23% in that twelve-month period, fluctuating noticeably from quarter to quarter due to the interplay between accelerating market penetration and the aforementioned shift to smaller tablets. While Androids as a disparate "ecosystem" have now officially taken over the worldwide tablet market, according to the release, iPads still hold the vast plurality of shipments and revenues in all size categories.

"To remain a leader," said ABI senior practice director Jeff Orr, "Apple must continue to innovate and address real-world market needs." What those innovations are and what the market needs are often two different things, which could account for the inexorable creep of Android: the open source operating system gives users and manufacturers the ability to address needs as they see fit on an ongoing basis, which proprietary iOS does not.