In selling 3.27 million iPads in just over three weeks, Apple's iPad has forced Forrester Research to revise its earlier estimates for tablet computer sales in the United States. This paves the way for great opportunity for tablets based on Google's Android and Microsoft Windows.
Apple's smash-hit iPad tablet computer is forcing analysts to break free from their conservative estimates.
Days after Apple officials claimed they had sold 3.27
million iPads in the quarter ending June 26, Forrester Research analyst
Sara Rotman Epps called her previous forecast for tablet computers in
the United States conservative and vowed to update her numbers later
this year after collecting more information from the market.
Epps said that in Forrester's forecast from early June, the research
firm said U.S. consumers would buy 3.5 million tablets in 2010 and 8.4
million in 2011, with 59 million U.S. consumers owning a tablet
computer by 2015.
That also includes machines based on Microsoft Windows, HP's newly
acquired WebOS from Palm and Google's Android operating system, which
is finding its way into tablets from Dell, Lenovo, Acer, Asus and even
Google and Verizon.
However, Forrester didn't count Apple's global iPad sales, or account for any units sold into the enterprise.
"We're continually monitoring new industry and consumer data to inform our analysis," Epps wrote in a July 22 blog post
. "In this case, we missed the mark regarding our short-term forecast, so we're revisiting our initial work."
And that, she said, is largely because of the iPad's surprising
momentum into the normally sluggish summer months, when people are
spending on family vacations instead of consumer electronics devices.
Perhaps families are buying tablets to surf the Web in their beach
houses and hotels.
Whatever the use cases, the iPad is not selling like the typical consumer device, Epps said.
"When it went on sale in April, we assumed that sales would be
strong based on pent-up demand for a hyped product; we then assumed
that sales would slow in a summer slump, as is common with consumer
technology purchases; and that sales would spike again in the holiday
season. But the iPad isn't behaving like other consumer devices: It has
a steamroller of momentum behind it that indicates incredibly strong
demand for this entirely new form factor."
That certainly opens the door for tablets based on Android, Windows
and HP's WebOS platform. It also opens the door for the cannibalization
of the PC market.
As hardware and software for tablets improve, users may eschew their
desktops and laptops for the sleeker form factor with the touch screen,
as Apple COO Tim Cook recently suggested
Epps said in June tablets will cannibalize netbooks
in 2012 and outsell netbooks by 2014, partly because netbooks don't sync data across devices the way the iPad does.
She opined that the iPad went so viral because it was aided by
social network users who are sharing information on Facebook and
tweeting on Twitter.
According to a June Forrester survey of almost 4,000 U.S. Web users,
the average iPad buyer is 20 percent more likely to use Facebook and 40
percent more likely to use Twitter than the average U.S. online
The word is out and the iPad buzz continues unabated; nearly 10
million U.S. consumers told Forrester in June they own or intend to buy