Tablet shipments in the first quarter of 2013 soared but Apple has lost 20% of it market share in the past year.

IDC tablet figures first quarter 2013
A salesperson unpacks an Apple iPad Mini to test it for a customer in the Apple specialty section of a Croma retail store in Mumbai February 22, 2013. (Credit: Reuters)

New figures from research firm IDC show that tablet shipments for the first quarter of 2013 totalled 49.2 million, a 142% increase on the 20.3 million shipped in the same period in 2012.

However the biggest change is in Apple's market share, which has dropped from a dominant 58.2% last year to under just 39.6% this year, as Android and Windows 8 tablets make an impact.

Tablet shipments shrunk slightly compared to the fourth quarter of 2012 however, when 52.5 million units were shipped globally, though considering this was the Christmas period it's not surprising.

Apple leads worldwide tablet shipments, shipping 19.5 million iPads and iPad minis in the first three months of 2013, ahead of Samsung's 8.8 million tablets. Samsung has a much larger portfolio of devices than Apple with devices in sizes ranging from 7in up to over 11in.

Asus, in third position, saw huge growth compared to 2012 (up 350% mainly thanks to the success of the Google Nexus 7, which Asus built in partnetrship with the search giant.

Like the budget Nexus 7, Amazon saw major success with its own 7in budget tablet the Kindle Fire HD, and along with the larger 8.9in version and the original Kindle Fire helped Amazon to grow over 150% to ship 1.8 million tablets in the first quarter of 2013.

On the Surface

Surprisingly Microsoft made it into the top five vendors, shipping 900,000 of its Surface Rt and Surface Pro tablets in the quarter, following a major marketing push for the Windows 8 device. This quarter's figures will have been helped by the release of the Surface Pro version in the US and Canada in February. It is due to launch in the UK next month.

Despite an increase of 65% in iPad shipments since the first three months of 2012 Apple saw its overall share of the tablet market drop from a dominant 58.2% to 39.6%.

Most of that market share has been scooped up by Samsung, who now commands 17.9% up from just 11.3% a year ago. Indeed the tablet market is now beginning to resemble the smartphone market of a few years ago when Apple's early dominance was slowly eroded by the pervasive nature of the South Korean manufacturer which eventually overtook Apple as the biggest smartphone maker in the world.

In terms of the eco-systems, the tablet market also mirrors the smartphone landscape. Despite having the single best selling tablet by some distance, iOS is losing ground to Android which is far and away the largest tablet platform now. In the last quarter 27.8 million Android tablets were shipped, well ahead of the 19.5 million iOS tablets shipped. That marks a dramatic growth of 246.4% year-on-year for Google's software, with only 8 million Android devices shipping in the first quarter of 2012.