Some 117 million tablet computers will be sold in 2012 around the world and another 165 million will be purchased in 2013, based on newly-increased sales forecasts from IDC.
With tablet computers flying off the shelves around
the world as 2012 comes to a close, research firm IDC has revised its sales
forecasts for tablet sales through 2013, raising its numbers substantially
based on strong consumer demand.
In its latest Worldwide
Quarterly Tablet Tracker report, IDC hiked its forecast for the worldwide
tablet market in 2012 to 117.1 million units, up from its previous forecast of
107.4 million units for the year. At the same time, IDC also revised and raised
forecast numbers for 2013, increasing the expected number of tablets sold to
165.9 million units from its original estimate of 142.8 million units. The new
report was released Sept. 19.
That market growth will continue, according to IDC's data, with worldwide
shipments by 2016 expected to reach 261.4 million units.
"Despite ongoing economic concerns in most regions of the world,
consumers continue to buy tablets in record numbers and we expect particularly
strong demand in the fourth quarter," Tom Mainelli, a mobile connected
devices analyst with IDC, said in a statement.
"Apple leads the market with its iPad and we expect its dominance to
continue in the second half of the year. Still, we believe there is room in the
market for others to find success, and new Android- and Windows-based products
shipping in the coming months will give consumers plenty of buying options
during the holiday season."
Apple tablets took 57.2 percent of the market in 2011, according to IDC, and
will capture about 60 percent in 2012. By 2016, Apple is expected to slip back
to about 58 percent of the market as competitors raise their challenges. In
2011, Android had a 38.9 percent market share, which will slip to 35.3 percent
in 2012, IDC reports. Android's share will decline to 30.5 percent by 2016.
Meanwhile, Windows tablets (including Windows 7 tablets today and upcoming
Windows 8 and RT models) will grow from about 1 percent of the market in 2011
to 4 percent in 2012, according to IDC. By 2016, Windows tablets are expected
to capture 11 percent of the market.
"Tablets running Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 and RT operating
systems, including the company's own Surface tablets, will add some
momentum," Jennifer Song, an IDC research analyst, said in a statement. "However,
we expect shipments to remain low in the fourth quarter as high prices and
consumer confusion around these devices will limit their appeal. Also, in the
second half of the year Android should benefit from the success of the Nexus 7
and Amazon's launch of new Kindle Fires."
At the same time, IDC reported that e-reader sales forecasts for 2012 are
being "significantly lowered" due to the arrival of more flexible
tablet computers that be purchased by users for less than $200. Those
inexpensive tablets will help cause 2012 e-reader shipments to top out at 23.6
million units, down from the 27.7 million units that shipped in 2011, according
A similar report in April by Futuresource Consulting
forecast tablet sales in the United States to grow
by 200 percent through 2016. Global tablet sales exceeded 64 million units
in 2011 and are on track to soar to 232 million units in 2016, based on the
company's Tablet Technology and Markets report.
The Futuresource report agreed that tablets have cannibalized the demand for
netbooks, but consumers still see the tablet device as an addition to
conventional PCs or Macs rather than a replacement.