Global sales of tablet computers more than doubled in the first quarter of 2013, with shipments reaching 49.2 million, according to research published Wednesday by International Data Corporation (IDC).
The market research firm said that Apple still dominated the ranks of tablet vendors with a 39.6-per-cent market share in the January-March period, selling 19.5 million units. This was ahead of IDC's expectations of 18.5 million units as strong demand for the iPad mini cancelled out the usual drop in sales that follows the holiday shopping period, dpa reported.
But it was not all good news for the iconic device maker which just a year earlier had enjoyed a market share of 58.1 per cent.
Samsung was the second placed tablet vendor in the quarter, enjoying 17.9 per cent of sales, followed by Asus with a 5.5-per-cent stake. Amazon's Kindle device was fourth with 3.7 per cent while Microsoft entered the top five for the first time with sales of 900,000 for its surface tablets and a 1.9-per-cent market share.
Overall, tablets running on Android operating system were the top sellers with a 56.5-per-cent market share, the report said.
The surging tablet sales appear to have come at the expense of traditional PC sales which according to IDC plunged 14 per cent in the first quarter - the worst drop since the dawn of the PC era.