No Surprise: US is 75% of Global E-Reader Market, Apple & Amazon Dominate, Says IDC Study

In Global Trade Talk by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

US-based Apple and Amazon are the leading global vendors of tablet computers and e-readers, respectively, according to the Worldwide Quarterly Media Tablet and eReader Tracker, published by International Data Corporation (IDC). Pandigital and Barnes & Noble have lapped Sony to become the #2 and #3 global vendor of e-readers. Sony is neck and neck with Chinese-producer Hanvon in distributing e-readers, and are at the #4 and #5 positions — though are significantly behind the leaders in terms of percentage of market share.

The report offered additional statistical insight into the booming tablet and e-reader markets.

In the third quarter of last year vendors shipped:

  • 4.8 million tablets — 90% of which were iPads — representing 45.1% increase over the previous quarter.
  • 2.7 million e-readers — 75% of which went to the US market — representing a 40% increase over the previous quarter.

Top 5 Vendors, Worldwide eReader Shipments, Third Quarter 2010

Rank Vendor 3Q10 Shipments (M) Market Share (%)
1 Amazon 1.14 41.5%
2 Pandigital 0.44 16.1%
3 Barnes and Noble 0.42 15.4%
4 Sony 0.23 8.4%
4 Hanvon 0.23 8.2%
6 Others 0.29 10.4%

In their own analysis they point out:

  • Apple is the global leader in tablets, responsible for a 87.4% share worldwide.
  • Amazon was the market leader in e-readers for the 3rd quarter with more than 1.1 million units shipped and 41.5% share worldwide.
  • Pandigital, which has a U.S. focus for its Novel e-readers with models based not only on e-paper but also color LCD technology, came in second to Amazon worldwide.
  • Barnes and Noble, which is currently shipping exclusively in the U.S. market, was a strong contender for the #3 position.
  • Sony has fallen to a distant #4 vendor with slightly more than 200,000 units shipped and 8.4% worldwide share.
  • China-based Hanvon edged close to Sony and effectively tied for fourth place with 8.2% worldwide share.

For 2010, IDS expects the totals to arrive at 17 million tablets and 10.8 million e-readers to have been shipped. IDS also anticipates explosive growth in the segment over the coming two years.

In 2011, they forecast:

  • 44.6 million tablets and 14.7 million e-readers shipped.

For 2012, they predict:

  • 70.8 million tablets and 16.6 million e-readers shipped.
About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.