The 2012 holiday shopping season saw tablet shipments climb by 75 percent year on year, according to researchers.
IDC said that 52.5 million tablets shipped over the final three months of 2012. Over the same period in 2011, the company estimates just 29.9 million tablets were shipped by manufacturers.
Apple reaped much of that growth, with a 43.6 percent market share. According to IDC, iPad shipments clocked in at 22.9 million units, up 48 percent on the previous year's quarter.
The report could bode well for Apple as the company prepares to launch a new iPad model which will sport a 128GB storage capacity.
Samsung was a distant second in the market, pulling a 15.1 percent share of the market on 7.8 million units shipped. The figure represented a massive 263 percent increase over 2011 - although Samsung was starting from a very low base, having shipped just 2.2 million tablets in the year ago quarter.
Amazon's Kindle brand was third with six million units sold and an 11.5 percent piece of the market, followed by Asus and Barnes and Noble.
"New product launches from the category's top vendors, as well as new entrant Microsoft, led to a surge in consumer interest and very robust shipments totals during the holiday season," said IDC analyst Tom Mainelli.
"The record-breaking quarter stands in stark contrast to the PC market, which saw shipments decline during the quarter for the first time in more than five years."
While Microsoft did not make the top five tablet vendor list, the company is hoping to make a splash in the market in 2013. Next month Redmond is set to debut the Surface Pro, a high-end compliment to its 2012 Surface RT line.