Apple's iPad takes 87.4% of tablet market

Posted by Raven Lovecraft

No one can possibly be surprised that Apple is at the top of the tablet leaderboard, but an 87.4% majority in any high-profile market is staggering no matter who you are.

According to IDC, Apple shipped 4.2 million tablets in the third quarter of 2010, enough to give it an 87.4% command of the market. The firm did not expand statistics for other companies, but noted that Samsung was the major competitor with its Android-based Galaxy Tab.

What is more worthy of taking a closer look, though, is IDC's breakdown of the e-reader market. The iPad is excluded from this list, as researchers only count devices that are dedicated to reading e-books. Here's how that list breaks down:

- Amazon (Kindle): 41.5%
- Pandigital: 16.1%
- Barnes & Noble (Nook): 15.4%
- Sony (Reader): 8.4%
- Hancon - 8.2%

What's interesting here is that the top five only represent less than 90% of the entire market, so other independent, low-budget e-readers are selling too.

It's a mixed bag for Amazon, though. It used to dominate this market with as much as 75% of the e-reader industry. But that was when fewer people were buying e-readers. Even though it only has about 41% of the market now, it's selling more Kindles than ever. Q3 2010 shipments reached 1.14 million.

And even though it doesn't own a majority of the e-reading business anymore, its top market share still outweighs the next three companies combined. So it's good news for Apple and Amazon, but both markets are still very nascent, so 2011 has the potential to bring about a lot of change. Keep your eyes peeled.