Fruitcake, anyone? Amazon’s Kindle Fire slips out of Top 5, showing extreme seasonality

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The latest tablet shipment numbers from the IDC research firm show Apple’s iPad leading the worldwide market in the second quarter, followed by Samsung, ASUS, Lenovo and Acer.

Yes, there’s a notable name missing from that list: Amazon.

kindlefirehdFor the first time since the launch of the Kindle Fire in late 2011, the Amazon tablet doesn’t appear in the Top 5 in IDC’s quarterly ranking of the top tablet vendors.

IDC’s Ryan Reith confirmed this morning that Amazon came in at No. 6 in the preliminary quarterly data, with 1 million shipments and 2.2% market share. That’s down from shipments of 1.2 million and 5% market share for the Kindle Fire in the same quarter last year.

Of course, seasonality is the name of the game in the consumer electronics industry, but the numbers mean that Kindle Fire sales are signficantly more seasonal than the rest of the tablet market. During the 2012 holiday shopping season, Amazon was No. 3 in tablet shipments, behind Apple and Samsung.

One interpretation: With its low price, the Kindle Fire is hard for holiday gift buyers to pass up, but it’s not something that as many people will buy for themselves during other times of the year. Last year Business Insider called the Kindle Fire the “fruitcake of tablets,” and based on these latest numbers, that designation is becoming increasingly difficult to dispute.

Kindle Fire will no doubt return to the top 5 in the fourth quarter of this year, but long term, it’s looking like the off-season will be the real litmus test for Amazon’s tablet.

Here is IDC’s chart showing the latest tablet vendor rankings, based on preliminary data. (Side note: Windows tablets shipped 1.8 million units in the quarter, and Windows RT shipped 200,000 units, according to the IDC data.)

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  • ManagerNorthernIllinois

    So…everyone’s accustomed now to the reality that Amazon releases new devices just before the winter holidays. Amazon primes the pump, getting everyone to expect something good coming soon starting mid to late summer. So why would even the most ardent Amazon lovers buy now? It seems to me that their results are simply a result of their marketing cycle. Yawn.

  • Carlos Brown

    The real headline here is that, despite Amazon having just a single tablet brand, whereas most of the others in the story have multiple tablet brands (All tablets that Asus makes, for instance are counted, not just the Nexus 7), and despite Amazon competing only in North America against worldwide sales for the others, the Fire still manages to stay in the top 5 for two quarters and in the top 6 all year long….and is second only to the iPad in sales here in North America for the year at large.