Today, IDC released its data on worldwide tablet shipments for the first quarter of 2012 and it revealed that Apple’s share of the tablet market had risen to 68% from 54.7% in Q4 last year despite a drop in its overall shipments by 20%. The IDC has put this down to the fact that Q4 last year was a strong one with a lot of sales for the holiday season. Apple’s increase in the tablet market share was at the expense of Android tablets and in that category, the one that lost the most numbers from Q4 last year to the first quarter of this year was Amazon’s Kindle Fire that saw shipments plummet from 4.8 million units shipped in Q4 2011 to just 750,000 last quarter.

Apple reasserted its dominance in the market this quarter, driving huge shipment totals at a time when all but a few Android vendors saw their numbers drop precipitously after posting big gains during the holiday buying season,” said Tom Mainelli, research director, Mobile Connected Devices at IDC. “Apple’s move to position the iPad as an all-purpose tablet, instead of just a content consumption device, is resonating with consumers as well as educational and commercial buyers. And its decision to keep a lower-priced iPad 2 in the market after it launched the new iPad in March seems to be paying off as well.

In Q4 2011, Amazon was in the second place with 16.8% but its market share last quarter has dropped to just over 4%. This news comes a day after Target announced that it plans to discontinue the sale of all Kindle devices, and other Amazon and Kindle branded products. Due to the decline of Amazon in the standings, Samsung took over the 2nd position ahead of Amazon, Lenovo and Barnes & Noble.

On a year to year basis, (Q1 2011 to Q1 2012) the overall tablet market saw an increase in 20% and again, because of the holiday season, from Q4 2011 to Q1 2012, it dropped 38%. With Apple being the dominant front-runner in the tablet market, its numbers count for a bulk of the overall sales. Seeing that it shipped fewer iPads in Q1 of 2012 than expected, IDC concluded that this was due to customers holding off from purchasing the iPad 2 with the new iPad launching just three weeks before the quarter ended.

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