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Apple iPad drives 124% growth in global tablet shipments, study says

In its Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report released on Tuesday, NPD DisplaySearch found that the tablet market continues to exhibit strong growth mainly being fueled by Apple's hot-selling iPad.

The first quarter of the 2012 calendar year saw Apple's mobile PC business, which includes tablet and laptops, grow 118 percent year-to-year with a large majority of those shipments coming from the iPad. The tablet accounted for nearly four out of every five of the company's mobile PC shipments and reached 13.6 million units to grow 162 percent from the year ago quarter.

Apple's own numbers, announced during the company's second fiscal quarter earnings call, were slightly more conservative and pegged iPad shipments at 11.8 million units representing a 151 percent growth from the same time in 2011.

Apple managed to take 62.8 percent of the global tablet sector while Amazon's Kindle Fire was knocked out of the number two spot by Samsung, which shipped 1.6 million units for a 7.5 percent share of the market. The Kindle managed 900,000 units to account for only a 4 percent share. Rounding out the top five were RIM and ASUS, each taking a 2.3 percent slice of the market on identical shipments of 500,000 units. Barnes and Noble's Nook fell out of the top five in quarter one, though the company may regain some standing with the help of Microsoft's $300 million shot in the arm.

Global tablet shipments for the first quarter of the 2012 calendar year. | Source: NPD DisplaySearch

The iPad's monster numbers helped Apple maintain its mobile PC market lead that saw tablet and laptop shipments take a 22.5 percent share, almost double that of runner-up HP's 11.6 percent. Combined iPad and MacBook shipments topped out at 17.2 million while HP managed 8.9 million units. Acer, Lenovo and Dell relied on notebook shipments to take the remaining three spots and captured 9 percent, 7.7 percent and 7.3 percent, respectively.

Apple once again didn't place in the top five notebook and mini-notebook rankings, which was lead by HP's 8.9 million shipments that accounted for 16.2 percent of the sector. Acer took second place with 6.5 million units, followed by Lenovo, Dell and ASUS.

Although slightly more conservative than results from IDC, the DisplaySearch findings are in consensus with the broad strokes and illustrate how important the iPad is to Apple's mobile strategy.