Global tablet revenues are now expected to reach $49 billion by 2015, according to an April 19 report from Strategy Analytics. Up from zilch in 2009, 2015 global revenues from the Apple iPad and its legion of followers, said the research firm, "will exceed those of every consumer electronics category except TVs and PCs by 2015."
Markets in North America, Asia Pacific and Western Europe are expected to lead this massive growth in tablet revenue.
"Tablets are a high-value casual-computing segment that is creating huge growth opportunities for major brands such as Apple and Samsung," Strategy Analytics Director Neil Mawston said in a statement.
"We predict 80 percent of the value of the tablet market in 2015 will reside in both high-tier and entry-tier models, as tablets address the opportunities in other developed and emerging markets such as the Asia Pacific region," Mawston added.
In a Feb. 14 report, Morgan Stanley further highlighted Asia's expected role in the market's growth, estimating that over the next 12 months, China will account for 41 percent of tablet shipments. The United States, following behind sales from Japan and much of Europe, was slated to account for 11 percent.
Strategy Analytics Associate Director Martin Bradley appears to concur. "In terms of revenues, the largest opportunity for tablet vendors will be in North America, Asia Pacific and Western Europe," he said in the statement. "Although the average selling prices in Asia Pacific will be less than 85 percent of those in Western Europe by 2015, the total value of the Asia Pacific region will exceed Western Europe by this time."
While this year's tablet market promises to be packed with competitors from PC giants Hewlett-Packard, Acer, Sony, Lenovo and Dell, as well as smartphone makers Samsung, Motorola, HTC and Research In Motion, the Apple iPad-the device that reinvented the form factor and launched the market-is expected to continue to dominate, at least according to Gartner.
Apple's lead will likely be shortened by its competitors, Gartner analysts forecast in an April 11 report, but by 2015 they expect Apple to still command 47 percent market share. Android, meanwhile-the mobile OS of choice for the bulk of the pack-is expected to rise from 2010's 24 percent to 39 percent by 2015.
Manufacturers are making the same mistakes they made in response to the first iPhone, "as they are prioritizing hardware features over applications, services and overall user experience," Gartner Vice President Carolina Milanesi said in the report. "Tablets will be much more dependent on the latter than smartphones have been, and the sooner vendors realize that, the better chance they have to compete head-to-head with Apple."
RBC analyst Mike Abramsky, in a March 4 report, put 2014 tablet shipment estimates at 185 million units. By 2014, Abramsky wrote, 400 million people will own tablets and Android will account for 40 percent of the tablet market share, thanks, in part, to "budget-priced Android tablets from Asia."
Apple, he added, will follow Google in 2014, with an estimated 34 percent market share. Behind it will come Microsoft, with a 13 percent share; RIM's BlackBerry OS, at 8 percent; and HP's webOS, at 5 percent.