Earlier this week I reported on some rather questionable data which suggested, among other things, that Amazon’s tablet now accounted for a third of all the Android tablets in use and that B&N could claim 10% of said tablets. It now looks like that is not the case.
IDC has released their quarterly report on global tablet sales today and they’re reporting that the number of tablets sold by B&N shrank in Q4 2012, while Amazon, Samsung, Asus, and Apple all increased the number of tablets they sold.
Total tablet sales were estimated to be about 52.5 million last quarter, up 75% from the 30 million tablets sold in Q4 2011. About 23 million were iPads, an increase of 7.8 million. In spite of the increase in sales Apple’s market dropped from 48% to 43.6% because the competition has improved their tablets faster than Apple can release new iPads.
In Android tablets, Samsung displaced Amazon as the world’s second largest tablet maker. Samsung sold 7.9 million tablets while Amazon sold 6 million Kindle Fire Android tablets last quarter. Asus also managed to sharply increase the number of tablets they sold, moving to 4th place with 3.1 million.
The rest of the report is not public (it’s for sale), but there was one tidbit more. Barnes & Noble may have been the only major device maker to sell fewer tablets this year than last. In spite of launching 2 new media tablets, B&N only managed to sell a million of them. That is actually a decrease in sales from the same quarter in 2011, when B&N is estimated to have sold 1.4 million tablets. This matches closely with B&N’s own reported figures, so no grain of salt is required.
Hmm. B&N’s sole strong point before last holiday season’s disappointing sales was Nook Media and the possibility that it could be sold off to finance the rescue of the rest of the company. But given that Barnes & Noble’s share of the tablet market is shrinking, the limited income generated by the unit ($311 million during the holiday season, down 12%), and the capital intensive nature of the hardware market I’m not sure that the $1.7 billion valuation that B&N put on Nook Media is all that realistic.
Still, I bet there are any number of tech companies which would buy Nook Media, in spite of the questionable value. B&N just has to be willing to sell.