A back-to-school boom in tablet sales has been driven by low-cost Android devices, according to new Context stats which show the market has grown annually by three quarters.
For the first eight weeks of the third quarter of this year, the number of tablets sold through distributors across western Europe rocketed 76 per cent year on year and 23 per cent on Q2 – a trend the analyst puts down to the back-to-school rush.
The average selling price of iPads was more than double that of Android offerings – €372 and €163 (£311 and £137) respectively – which helped sales of Android devices to rocket 240 per cent annually in early Q3.
Android accounted for nearly 67 per cent of tablet sales at the start of Q3 – nearly double the figure it was at a year before – while Apple held a third of the market, compared with the 62 per cent share it had last year.
Despite Android and Apple's market positions effectively swapping in just a year, Context's senior analyst Marie-Christine Pygott said that Apple's quiet spell in terms of new products has a lot to do with it.
"While strong Android sales could partially explain the year-on-year decline in iPad numbers, it should be remembered that Apple's tablet sales in previous years benefited from new product launches in the spring," she said. "This year, Apple is rumoured to launch a new iPad in the autumn and this is likely to have influenced customers' recent purchasing decisions."
Sales of tablets running Windows 8 were lower than Context expected, taking only a 0.9 per cent share of total tablet sales across western European distribution in the first eight weeks of Q3.
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