The global market for tablets surged 78.4 percent last year, with 128 million of the devices shipped, a new survey shows.
Research firm IDC said tablets made up 10.7 per cent of the global market last year for "smart connected devices", which includes smartphones, notebooks and PCs.
Samsung overtook last year's leader Apple in the smart connected devices market, with an overall market share of 20.8 per cent.
Overall, the market for these devices grew 29 per cent to 1.2 billion, according to IDC, with growth in tablets and smartphones – which saw a 46 per cent rise – offsetting declines in PC sales.
Although tablet sales sizzled, they have not yet eclipsed sales of traditional PCs yet, the figures showed. Some analysts say that could happen in the next year or two.
IDC data showed a 3.4 per cent drop in portable PC sales to 202 million and a 4.1 per cent decline in desktop PC sales to 148.4 million.
These were dwarfed by the 722 million smartphones sold last year, a figure that was previously released.
Smartphones and tablets are growing at a pace that PCs cannot keep up with, said IDC analyst Ryan Reith.
"The average selling price for a tablet declined 15 per cent in 2012 to $US461 ($A448), and we expect that trend to continue in 2013."
IDC said smartphone prices averaged $US408 ($397) and are generally replaced more often than other devices.
In the overall market for connected devices, Samsung rose to the top position with at least 20 per cent of the market in each category, and an overall market share of 20.8 per cent, overtaking last year's leader Apple.
Apple held 18.2 per cent of the market for 2012, up from 16.3 per cent in 2011. The maker of the iPhone and iPad saw 44 per cent growth for the year but was unable to keep pace with South Korea's Samsung, which more than doubled its sales.
The number three company was China-based Lenovo with a 6.5 per cent market share in all devices, followed by US-based Hewlett-Packard (4.8 per cent) and Dell (3.2 per cent).
IDC said Apple fared better in the fourth quarter than earlier in the year, and was boosted by its release of the iPhone 5 and iPad mini.
"The fourth quarter market share numbers showed a fairly dramatic resurgence for Apple," said IDC's Bob O'Donnell.
"After falling well behind Samsung early in 2012, Apple came roaring back in final quarter of the year ... the question moving forward will be whether or not Apple can maintain its hit parade against the juggernaut of Samsung."