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The latest data from the research firm IDC, showed that Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) has once again gained the market share at the cost of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). This time Apple lost its market share in the tablet market. Though still a market leader, Apple is slowly but surely losing its hold on the tablet market. Seemingly, Apple is heading towards the same fate in tablet market as it met in the smartphone market.

The total number of tablet shipments worldwide increased to 47.6 million in the third quarter (see the table below), up from about 38 million during the same quarter last year. The latest data showed that the company's share in the tablet market has touched a low of 29.6%. The year-on-year, iPad shipments grew less than 1%, which leads to the decline in the company's share of the global tablet market as it fell to 29.6% in the third quarter, down from 40% in the same quarter a year earlier. Samsung stood second with 9.7 million tablet shipments and a 20.4% market share.

This time the company is losing its share against all the prominent players in the tablet market such as Samsung, Asus, Lenovo (OTCPK:LNVGF) and Acer (OTC:ACEIY) [makes Nexus7 for Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)]. The companies like Samsung, Lenovo and Acer showed a whopping three-digit rise in the shipments, year-on-year. Reasons were the same, which led to the fall of Apple's share in the smartphone market such as lack of new products by the company, rising popularity of Android tablets and pricing.


(Click to enlarge)

(Source: IDC data)

This decline in market share and the muted growth in the shipments came as the company generated much lower revenue per iPad sold. Its recent data-sheet shows that the company sold about 14 million units in its recently concluded quarter and earned revenue of $6.18 billion, which means about $439 per unit as compared to about $508 per unit in the same period a year earlier when the company earned revenue of $7.1 billion by selling 14 million units (see the table below).


(Click to enlarge)

(Source: data sheet)

New iPads:

On October 22, 2013 the company introduced two new iPads namely iPad Air and iPad mini.

As per the company's press release:

  • iPad Air will be dramatically thinner, tighter & more powerful iPad will be available in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular, in silver or space grey and in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB models·
  • iPad mini will feature Stunning Retina Display & 64-bit Apple-designed A7 Chip. will be available in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular, in silver or space grey and in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB models.

Initial pricing of the new iPads is on higher side but feature wise they are among the best and already getting fantastic reviews as some reviews even called them as the best tablets in the market.

Conclusion:

Despite the rapid declining market share, Apple still is the leader of the tablet market though the competitors are catching fast. It make look like that the company will meet the same fate in the tablet market as it met in the smartphone market, but the situation in the tablet market is very different and the company may be heading towards a much worse fate. Unlike the smartphone market, the company is not only losing its market share but also is facing the muted growth in the number of unit shipped. This is the most worrying factor because in the smartphone market the company despite losing its market share kept on shipping the increased number of smartphones. Even during the latest quarter, the company's smartphone shipments increased by about 26% (YoY). The table below shows Apple's quarterly device shipments.

While Apple saw muted sales, its competitors saw their sales soaring at an enormous pace. The company's only hope to control this decline in the market share is its recently introduced iPads.

These numbers do not come as a surprise, but the muted growth in the number of shipments despite the healthy growth in the market is a cause of concern. Recent product launches may avert this trend for the time being, but there is no long-term visibility, and the long-term outlook is still uncertain.

Disclaimer: Investments in stock markets carry significant risk, stock prices can rise or fall without any understandable or fundamental reasons. Enter only if one has the appetite to take risk and heart to withstand the volatile nature of the stock markets.

This article reflects the personal views of the author about the company and one must consult its financial adviser before making any decision.

Source: Apple: Still No. 1 But Slipping Fast