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Microsoft beats Apple in online tablet sales

Apple’s iPad tablet ushered in the modern tablet era when it was introduced in 2010, and it’s dominated tablet sales ever since. iPad sales have stagnated recently, but nevertheless Apple has maintained its lead in overall tablet market share. WinBeta received an early version of an upcoming report, “1010data Facts for Ecom Insights, January 2014 – October 2015” by the 1010data Ecom Insights Panel, however, that indicates all of that might be changing as Microsoft assumes the mantle of best-selling tablet maker in terms of online sales in October.

The report is jam-packed with interesting bits of info, and so let’s break them down. First, let’s take a look at where the data comes from:

1010data’s Ecom Insights panel consists of millions of online shoppers in the U.S. who allow 1010data to anonymously track their online behavior for market research purposes, including e-commerce activity.

1010data applies advanced, proprietary statistical modeling, machine learning, and data science techniques to ensure that its panel is representative of the Internet Browsing Population in the U.S. and suitable to extrapolate observations to the broader population.

Retailers measured include the top 100 online mass retailers in the United States that – according to 1010data’s estimates – make up over 95% of hard line goods ordered online Total Spent.

So, the report analyzes online hardware sales at the majority of online retailers. According to this metric, then, here’s how October breaks out–an auspicious month, because it’s the first time during 2015 when Apple didn’t lead the market:

Online Tablet Share Trend by Brand YTD. Microsoft has been making steady progress in tablet market share, but saw a huge spike in October with the release of the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4.

Online Tablet Share Trend by Brand YTD. Microsoft has been making steady progress in tablet market share but saw a huge spike in October with the release of the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4.

Of course, it’s no coincidence that Microsoft had a huge October. The Surface Book and Surface Book 4 were both introduced at Microsoft’s October 6 hardware event, and they represent significantly more expensive machines than Apple’s iPad (although the recently released iPad Pro should increase the average sales price of Apple’s tablet range). Including hybrids in the tablet sales figures makes sense, because they’re direct competitors, and this isn’t the first report to indicate that Windows 10 tablet and hybrid sales are having a significant impact on the market.

Here’s average tablet online selling price over the last 12 months:

Microsoft might sell fewer tablets online than Apple, but Microsoft's average selling price is over twice as high.

Microsoft might sell fewer tablets online than Apple, but Microsoft’s average selling price is over twice as high.

Overall online tablet sales have shown some spikes, influenced by a few key product releases including the Surface Pro 3, the iPad Mini 4, and the Surface Pro 4:

The online tablet market has seen some serious spikes with the introduction of a few key products by both Microsoft and Apple.

The online tablet market has seen some serious spikes with the introduction of a few key products from both Microsoft and Apple.

Apple still leads the pack in terms of market share over the last 12 months:

Apple maintains a healthy lead in terms of online tablet sales, but Microsoft is in a strong second place position.

Apple maintains a healthy lead in terms of online tablet sales, but Microsoft is in a strong second place position.

Apparently, Microsoft is making some waves in the tablet market, and giving Apple real reason to sweat. We’re fairly certain that Apple introduced the iPad Pro in response to the success of Microsoft’s Surface line, and these numbers bear that. Going forward, we expect hybrids and Windows 10 to continue to make inroads, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on how well Apple can compete in this increasingly competitive market.

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Do you think the iPad Pro will help Apple gain back some of its tablet mojo?