Kindle Fire goes from zero to 14% tablet market share

Amazon.com ships 3.89 million Kindle Fires in the fourth quarter

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Talk about nailing it.

Back in early December, just a couple of weeks after the Kindle Fire was released, market research firm IHS iSuppli forecast that the Amazon.com tablet would grab 14% of fourth-quarter global tablet shipments.

Now the numbers are in, and it turns out that the Kindle Fire's share of Q4 tablet shipments is ... (drum roll, please) ... 14%! OK, 14.3%.

That's also according to iSuppli, which announced Thursday that Amazon shipped 3.89 million Kindle Fires last quarter. Those numbers are almost identical to the December forecast of 3.9 million Kindle Fires shipped in Q4 and a market share of 13.8%.

Remaining at No. 1, of course, is Apple's iPad, of which 15.43 million were shipped in the fourth quarter, good for a market share of 57%, down from 64% in the third quarter.

Which is odd in that the iPad's market share slipped even as total shipments increased 39% from 11.12 million in the third quarter.

Interestingly, iSuppli credits the drop in iPad market share less to the Kindle Fire and more to a mobile device made by some obscure manufacturer based in Cupertino, Calif.

“Shipments of the iPad line fell short of IHS estimates in the fourth quarter as many loyal Apple customers devoted their dollars to shiny new alternatives,” said Rhoda Alexander, senior manager, tablet and monitor research for IHS. “However, the primary alternative wasn’t the Kindle Fire—which debuted to solid sales in the fourth quarter—but Apple’s own iPhone 4S smartphone. The rollout of the iPhone 4S in October generated intense competition for Apple purchasers’ disposable income, doing more to limit iPad shipment growth than competition from the Kindle Fire and other media tablets.”

For all of 2011, Apple shipped 40.49 million iPads, up from 15.1 million in 2010 and good for a market share of 62%. Runner-up for the year was Samsung, which shipped 6.11 million Galaxy Tabs, or 9% of the total 65.19 million tablets shipped last year.

The Kindle Fire, out for less than two months last year, still shipped 6% of all tablets in 2010, finishing third overall.

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