Blog Post

Daily Android tablet sales nearing 40% of iPad sales

Although Amazon wowed many with its new Kindle Fire HD tablets this week, don’t count pure Android(s goog) slates out of the race for tablet sales. Most hardware makers shy away from providing actual sales numbers, but some simple math and new information on total Android activations tell us that Google Android tablets are catching up to Apple’s iPad(s aapl) on a daily basis quicker than previously believed.

At a Motorola press event on Tuesday, Google’s ex-CEO and current chairman, Eric Schmidt offered up a key data point when talking about Android device activiations. Schmidt said nearly 1.3 million Android devices were activated daily, and of those, 70,000 were tablets. ZDNet’s Ed Burnette used that information in conjunction with Apple’s reported iPad sales and found that Android slate sales are approaching 40 percent of Apple’s iPad sales.

Here’s the reasoning. We know that Android tablet activations only include devices that use Google accounts for the device and apps. That rules out tablets such as the Kindle Fire(s amzn) and Nook Tablet(s bks), both of which forgo the use of Google apps. So the 70,000 per day are tablets that are purely based on Google’s platform. Burnette notes that Apple sold 17 million iPads in its most recent fiscal quarter, which works out to 188,888 iPads sold each day, on average. Divide that figure into the 70,000 Android tablet sales number and you get 37.2 percent.

That’s a big jump from 14 months ago when I last tried to extrapolate Android tablet sales. Back then, I figured that of the cumulative 133 million Android devices activated at the time, only 1.2 million of those were tablets. And in the quarter ending in June 2011, Apple sold 9.25 million iPads. Obviously, over 9 million iPads sold in a three month period easily trumped 1.2 million Android tablets sold all time. Based on the math, though, the gap is surely closing.

Google Now on Nexus 7There are two main reasons for Android tablets starting to catch up. First is the state of Android’s tablet software. In February 2011, Android 3.0 was the tablet platform and it was clearly rushed and incomplete. That changed with Android 4.0 and more recently 4.1; both offer a much better tablet experience.

Second, and more timely, is Google’s low-priced Nexus 7 tablet. For $199 consumers can go online and buy a relatively high-performing 7-inch slate that’s easy to take everywhere. Combine the Nexus 7 hardware and software with improved Google Play content services and you’ve got an attractive product.

Is Apple’s iPad still the top dog when it comes to tablets? Absolutely, and I see no evidence to suggest otherwise. But the theme of “there is no tablet market, there is only an iPad market” is starting to look outdated based on the data we see today.

40 Responses to “Daily Android tablet sales nearing 40% of iPad sales”

  1. Jean-Marc De Jonghe

    Not a math guru but taking the 17 million iPads in one quarter for a 188,888 iPads per day is assuming that the sales rate are flat. Daily sales of day one of the quarter probably doesnt equal last day of the quarter. In fact, if the sales are accelerating like we see from quarter to quarter, daily sale probably doubled. So daily sales of the last day of the last quarter are probably around 300 000 iPads. (pardon me my French).

  2. eldernorm

    Kevin, really, hit w*oring is not nice. :-(

    If there are 20 different Android devices that are making up the 40% of iPad sales……. then on average, each device is only getting 2% of iPad sales…

    And every 6 months there are new models and are different from the previous. So, what you are saying is there is TONS of stuff being sold and sorta kinda maybe will work at some level with the books, music, etc that is out there now.

    Apple products… all work together with iTunes, Apple TV, Mac computers…. They all place nice together.

    Just a thought.

    • Hmm…. I don’t see this article as “hit w*oring” as you described it. It’s difficult to get an idea of how many Android tablets are actually sold, so this is a proxy for that information and was presented as such. And while I agree with your statement about the Apple products, this piece has nothing to do with how well Android devices do or don’t work with media content. In essence, the “So, what you are saying is…. ” statement isn’t at all what I’m saying in the article.

      The post is pretty straightforward: It tries to give some meaning behind Android tablet sales compared to iPad sales. A year ago, that figure was pretty low. It appears to have grown. That’s all it says, so let’s not make it something else. ;) If you don’t care about how many Android tablets are selling compared to the iPad or think the iPad is the best product on the market, I have no problem with that. But the article isn’t flawed because of those reasons.

  3. The number is 40% of iPad sales and not 40% of the market. If the market is plit between iPad and android tablet, it means that iPad account for 71% and android tablets for 29% (iPad% + iPad%*0.4 = 100)
    Nothing new in fact…

  4. Greg Lomow

    The math in this article is completely bogus. If apple is selling 188,000 iPads/day and android is activating 70,000 slates/day, then the total is 258,000 devices/day and android is closer to 27% of the total, not the mistakenly reported 37%. What an idiot!!

    • I might be an idiot in other situations, Greg, but not this one. ;)

      Your math is correct, but it doesn’t prove anything wrong with the article. I didn’t write that Android tablet sales is 37% of all tablet sales, but only that of iPad sales. The equation you point out is for Android as a percentage of all Android and iPad sales. Subtle but important difference. And the reason I didn’t try to figure out the percentage of Google Android tablet sales for the whole market is because we don’t have numbers for Android tablets that don’t use Google apps or accounts, i.e.: Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet, etc…. Hope that explains.

  5. To Rune:
    I’m Spanish and I must say you’re totally wrong.Spain is not the poorest country in the EU.Portugal,Greece,Poland and the rest of western countries are poorer.The unemployment rate is 24%,not 34%.People don’t buy Iphones because there are few Apple fanboys here,not because we are poor.Please,try to inform better before saying things that are not true.

  6. To Rune:
    I’m Spanish and I must say you’re totally wrong.Spain is not the poorest country in the EU.Portugal,Greece,Poland and the rest of western countries are poorer.The unemployment rate is 24%,not 34%.People don’t buy Iphones because there are few Apple fanboys here,not because we are poor.Please,try to inform better before saying things that are not true.

  7. Rune Ydstebo

    Wow, impressive. If you took Erics numbers every time he says a number and added up the total for the last two years, you would end up almost 50% over actual sale. Anyone wonder why IOS account for almost 70% of WEB presence and Android less than 30%? And at the same time Eric tell the press over and over again how many activations Android see a day? Something does not add up here ?

  8. While Google, Amazon, and Samdung keep lying, Apple will reach 200 billion dollars in cash reserves, developers will continue to get paid at a ever increasing rate within the the so called closed IOS system whatever that means, but those three companies will continue to hide behind smoke and mirrors and lie hmm….

  9. Laughing_Boy48

    It doesn’t matter to Apple if more consumers are buying Android tablets as long as Apple can sell every tablet it makes. Android tablets come from dozens of manufacturers all fighting for a piece of tablet market share. Each Android vendor is hurting sales of other Android vendors. If a person wants to use iOS and integration with their iPhones and Macs then Apple devices are the only way to go.

    Apple’s financial model does not require Apple to hold majority tablet share. The company will continue to make money by making the most profits and selling to higher-end users. If Google claims that they’re activating more and more tablets per day then good for them. Google doesn’t get very much out of it in the way of revenue. More consumers are using tablets and it probably hurts Microsoft more than it does Apple as consumers start neglecting their Windows desktop computers.

    Android is an OS that was meant to be used by as many companies as possible and it appears to be doing what it was meant to do. iOS is used for Apple devices and it seems to be doing precisely what it needs to do. Both Google and Apple appear to be doing financially well as companies, so maybe both are winning.

  10. Hi Kevin. That number is really hard to believe. There is a reason why Schmidt says “activated” instead of “sold”. In the case of Samsung against Apple it was revealed that Samsung sold a dismal 37,000 in the last quarter.

    We all know that before the Nexus 7 (we still need solid numbers on those, and if they had reached a milestone Schmidt surely would have boasted about it), Samsung was the one doing best in the Android tablet market, so all the rest of companies should not be selling as much. So how come Android tablets are selling more than 70,000 per day when all important Android OEMs couldn’t be selling more than 100K or 150K per QUARTER according to hard sales data?

    It seems to me there is something fishy here with Schmidt’s math. Either he is making this up or he is counting something that he shouldn’t. Wouldn’t be the first time…

    • Activated is a more accurate number than sold, because to activate a product you need to first BUY it, then SIGN IN, then access the Google play store to download apps. So in essence the fact that they quote ACTIVATED devices is a lot more honest and accurate than shipped or sold numbers.

    • Activated is more accurate than shipped and sold, because an activated device is one that has been bought, signed in, and used to download apps form the google play store.

  11. mintslice

    Actually, the maths is a little more complex, but not much.

    You need to do this. 70000 / (70000 + 188888) which equals 27%

    188888 isn’t the total number of tablets, it’s just the ones Apple sells.

    Still, since I did this on my Nexus 7 I wish you were right. :-)

      • motionblurred

        If that is then why:

        1. Why do I never see Android tablets in the wild? I’m sure you or anyone else would agree.
        2. Why are Android web usage numbers (tablet or phone) so much smaller compared to iOS?
        3. Why do devs say they have 25% of the app download rate (paid or free) of Android apps compared to iOS when Android is supposed to have 4x the marketshare?

        Unless most Android owners are out there using their phones and tablets as doorstops, the numbers are bogus.


        @motionblur 1. Android tablets and phones dominate the world. 2. Android web usage is much much higher than iOS, even surely has higher Android usage than iOS, ask Kevin to check his stats. 3. Angry Birds makes far more money and far more downloads on Android than iOS. It’s just bogus to say iOS has more app downloads, that is purely not true. 5 Android devices are sold for each iOS device sold worldwide.

      • Activation means a device being activated online? That will also include devices that is factory reset and re-activated? Google didn’t say new activation, they say “activated”. People were getting another $25 credit if they reset and reactivate their Nexus 7 and there is no limit on how many times you can do this. Now can you see why the tablet activation stats are higher all of a sudden?

      • Issue with the Lexus 7 was you need to activate with a different account, so it will be counted as another activation. And before the patch you can do it as many times as you have credit cards. Schmidt didn’t say when the report was done and how long the accounting period was.

        Last quarter, Android phone shipment worldwide was 107.8 million, that gives 1.2 million activation a day including no name brands that were not activated according to Charbax above. Google is quoting 1.3 million activation a day, while US Android market was down 5% from last year. The numbers just don’t add up if they are not counting multiple activations from the same device, unless Android sales went up like 20% in that last 2 month.

        Something sounded funny, when the cost of Nexus 7 is $152 + marketing cost + licensing cost from MSFT and it comes with a $25 credit. Making the profit margin near zero if not at a lost?

    • Larry Vandemeer

      What’s the matter??? Did you look at the EU and Spain implosion of iphone market share numbers (30% in 2010 vs. 2.9% in the most recent quarter; 87% for Android) and had a brain fart??? LMFAO… too funny…

      • Rune Ydstebo

        Do you know status in Spain? unemployment number is close to 35%. it is the poorest Country in EU, and poor people cant afford iPhones, thats the ONLY reason Android is doing well, you can get dirt cheap Android devices, but no iPhone :-)

    • Concurred with Larry,
      apple marketshare is shrinking worldwide and still the apple fanatics still put their heads in the sand with excuses of BS and “don’t see it in the wild”.
      Open your eyes and you will see the pasture is greener than just your state of USA that you live in.

  12. Google does not count non-certified devices, China sells over 200 thousand Android tablets per day, mostly sold all over China, India and the rest of the developing world. Go ask Google why they don’t count non certified Android devices, most Chinese Android tablets and smartphones are not certified even though they all come with Google Play store and Google apps pre-installed.