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By | Paul Kunert 1st May 2012 15:02

Hard-up Europe snubs slabs as US, Asia snap up gear

Amazon loosens Apple's grip on tablet sales

Almost one in five personal computers shipped globally in the opening three months of 2012 were tablets, market stats from bean counter Canalys reveals.

But the real surprises were that Apple's grip on sales loosened, and shoppers in the EMEA region contributed least to the volumes.

The abacus stroker said fondleslab makers flogged 20.3 million units, equating to 19 per cent of all PCs bought by businesses or consumers in the quarter, up from seven per cent a year ago.

Buyers in North America accounted for over one third (36 per cent) of tablet sales, and punters in Asia Pacific found a home for more than five million slates.

But folk in EMEA lagged, collectively consuming just 4.7 million devices despite having twice the population of the US.

"The challenging economic conditions in Europe are affecting the market," said Tim Coulling, analyst at Canalys.

"Austerity measures taken by governments to address public debt are resulting in low economic growth rates, limited job creation and pressure on disposable income at a time when households are also dealing with rising living costs."

Content is king according to Canalys: after TVs, shiny slates are the second most used medium for watching movies and programmes.

But negotiating digital rights across the range of languages and cultures in Europe makes the delivery of consistent services more costly and complex, the analyst claimed.

Apple, the undisputed Foxconn-rebranding king, maintained the majority market share globally, accounting for 58 per cent of total sales, but this was markedly down from the 74 per cent it held a year ago.

Despite only debuting in North America, Amazon became the second biggest seller of tabs, and this is testament to the need for "compelling content", said Canalys.

It placed Samsung, Asus and Lenovo as the third, fourth and fifth biggest vendors respectively. ®

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