Surface shipments surge ahead of Google's Nexus tablets in the UK

It’s no secret that Microsoft’s Surface tablets haven’t exactly been a huge sales success. But just as its Windows Phone platform has seen slow but steady growth – with market share reaching double digits in some parts of the world – it seems that the company may gradually be gaining some traction in an increasingly competitive tablet market.

As The Channel reports, industry analysis firm Canalys has published figures on UK tablet shipments for all manufacturers to retailers and distributors, indicating a 20.4% increase year on year across the whole market for the first quarter of 2014, with a total of 2.15m units shipped. Shipments, it must be noted, are not the same as sales to end users, but they do give a broad indication of how retailers anticipate they will be able to ultimately offload stock to buyers.

Apple retained the largest share of total UK shipments, with 34.4%, although its shipments for the quarter were down by 4.1% to 742,000. Samsung was in second place with 653,000 tablets shipped (30.4% share), followed by Amazon with just over 303,000 (14.1%).

But Microsoft moved up into fourth place for the first time, with shipments of its Surface tablets growing to 71,540 in Q1 – a 27.1% increase year on year – giving it a 3.3% share. Just under three out of every five of those shipped were Windows RT models. Microsoft’s growth pushed Google into fifth place, with shipments of its Nexus tablets falling by a massive 80% to 42,000 units.

Microsoft’s growth is attributed in part to the company’s strong reseller network, which has seen success in selling devices through to businesses as consumer demand for tablets slows. Samsung has reportedly been pushing resellers to take ever more stock of its devices, despite limited demand from buyers – one estimate claimed that around 300,000 Galaxy tablets are currently sitting in warehouses across the UK waiting to be sold.

Since Microsoft does not disclose exact sales figures for its Surface tablets, figures such as these are invaluable in trying to ascertain how they are performing. 

Source: The Channel | image via Microsoft

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and this doesn't include Surface Pro 3 data. wait until that baby come out. 5 people in our family alone is going to buy it (including me) . 3 of which havn't bought surface before

trojan_market said,
and this doesn't include Surface Pro 3 data. wait until that baby come out. 5 people in our family alone is going to buy it (including me) . 3 of which havn't bought surface before

Good for you but I don't think majority of average family, same size as yours, is going to spend almost $5,000 on tablet.

Auditor said,

Good for you but I don't think majority of average family, same size as yours, is going to spend almost $5,000 on tablet.

They're not spending $5000 on a tablet, they're spending almost $1000 each on 5 convertible tablet/laptops. Big difference. It's all in how you word it, and you make it sound like a single income is spending $5000 on a single basic tablet.

Auditor said,

Good for you but I don't think majority of average family, same size as yours, is going to spend almost $5,000 on tablet.

Just wondering, but he didn't say his immediate family, how would you know how large his is?

Auditor said,

Good for you but I don't think majority of average family, same size as yours, is going to spend almost $5,000 on tablet.


when I said my family I didn't mean my immediate family, I included my cousins and uncle. I am not paying for their surfaces!!!

HoochieMamma said,
Doesn't help Google when you can't even buy the N10 for the past couple of weeks from them.
i'm hoping that's a sign that there's a new version on the way. but who knows as it's been so long already :/

Brando212 said,
i'm hoping that's a sign that there's a new version on the way. but who knows as it's been so long already :/

That would be my guess.

Brando212 said,
i'm hoping that's a sign that there's a new version on the way.

I reckon the Nexus 8 will replace the Nexus 10.

Ace said,

I reckon the Nexus 8 will replace the Nexus 10.

I wouldn't like that. I like a big screen when it comes to tablets. The 7 is great but way too small, might as well use my phone.

"Shipments, it must be noted, are not the same as sales to end users"

"Since Microsoft does not disclose exact sales figures for its Surface tablets, figures such as these are invaluable in trying to ascertain how they are performing"


Pretty much sums it up.

JHBrown said,
"Shipments, it must be noted, are not the same as sales to end users"

"Since Microsoft does not disclose exact sales figures for its Surface tablets, figures such as these are invaluable in trying to ascertain how they are performing"


Pretty much sums it up.


Let me throw in a bit of anecdotal observations as a employee of a large electronic retailer in the UK.

First off, Apple. Sells always as its, well Apple. No need to work that out.

Second Samsung. There's only one reason they are selling and that's because they are literally giving them away. Buy a Samsung phone, get a tab 3 7" free. Or here have the 8" for the same price of the 7" at £139 (hint, sold a lot since then).
Ohh and about those units sat in the warehouse waiting to be sold? Yeah we have 10 note 10.1 and 8 just sat out back, not a lot of interest in them. Same goes with the 10" tab 3, even with the price cut to £229 (normal price £279, same as the 32gb Surface).

Ohh and yes the nexus 7 hasn't sold well either, shame though as it is the best 7" we sell and its reduced to clear at 169 atm.

As for the surface? Well funny enough we sold a fair bit of them when they are currently on offer (as they are now) but the surface 2 isn't as much. But we dont have stacks of them like the Samsungs, 3 of each capacity of each model. But yeah I feel the surface 2 needs a price cut or a new promo offer, as the price delta between them is huge.

When I was an employee also of a large electronic retailer in the UK, I didn't see the Surface selling that much.

There was a little display at the side of the store barely noticeable, and we never had much stock of them either. Instead, great emphasis was put on the Apple and Samsung tablets, with Asus and a few others mixed in.

Nexus 7 didn't do too bad actually, but again it had only a little display at the side next to the Surfaces.

We had a rep from Samsung at popular times to convince potential buyers though, so that boosted Samsung sales...

Ohh our Surface end was to not in a very prominent position (downstairs from electricals) and rather manned, as well we were near the stuff that has lots of people to serve (go figure!). Our manager decided to have it moved upstairs to where we were and guess what? Sales dramatically increased, so I agree wholeheartedly with your experience.

The nexus 7 is with our regular tablets, yet the 2012 model sold a lot better then the 2013 does. Cant explain it, but lower end tablets have gotten better so I don't think that customers feel the need to spend 199 on a 7" when there are tablets in the 120-150 range.

As for Samsung reps, yes they did help a lot in the tab 2 days, but since the tab 3 not seen them in store. In fact our store sold the most in the country during the 2012 Christmas period. But that was with 20% off plus 30 or 50 pound cashback (like I said, they have been practically been giving them away).

But the Tab 3's I feel are total crap, the 7" was no advancement at apart from the super bright over saturated screen and what were they smoking when they designed the 10"? hardware buttons in the middle? The speakers on the side rather than front? Really? The 8" seemed the best of the bunch, but that's not saying much...