Tablet Sales to Rise Dramatically During Holiday Shopping Season: NPD

Black Friday and the holiday shopping season will fuel tablet growth, while those who already own the device are likely to use them for gift purchasing.

This year’s Black Friday is expected to be the catalyst for tablets to pass notebook shipments for the first time in North America, according to NPD DisplaySearch’s fourth quarter North American tablet shipment forecast.

The company predicted 21.5 million tablet units would ship in Q4 2012, far exceeding the 14.6 million notebooks and mini-notes that are expected to ship in the same period. North America is expected to be the setting for the developing tablet market to overtake the established notebook market, and Black Friday and the shopping season to follow will be the fuel to stoke the demand.

Starting in 2013 in North America, tablet shipments are expected to exceed notebook shipments on an annual basis for the first time; 80 million tablets versus 63.8 million notebooks. However, on a worldwide basis, tablet shipments aren’t expected to out-ship notebooks until 2015, when 275.9 million tablets are projected to ship, as compared to 270 million notebooks. Black Friday and the ensuing holiday shopping season is expected to enhance an already prime opportunity for U.S. tablet adoption. Price cuts to already-declining tablet ASPs will be a major influence, the report said. Several other factors, including high penetration of PCs, shifting consumer preferences to tablets from notebooks, and major players, like Amazon, Google and others have started, focused or emphasized their tablet efforts.

“The $199 price point has increasingly become the target to match or beat with the introductions of Google’s $199 Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire 7-inch tablets. Another significant influence will be the increasing number of tablet options available to consumers this holiday season,” the report noted. “Up to this point, the tablet market was predominantly made up of Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad, which had about 65 percent market share in 2011. However, this holiday season there are [numerous size] options.”

While tablets and smartphones will be the most wanted gifts this year, shoppers who already own these devices will be using them to help find that perfect gift, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) “Pre-Black Friday Survey.”

Overall, 69 percent of U.S. adults will use a mobile connected device, such as a smartphone, tablet or cell phone, while shopping or to research gifts this weekend. Nearly half (47 percent) said they would use the device to get more information on products, both before going to the store and while in the store, 44 percent will use them to comparison shop and 39 percent will use their mobile device to look up retailer information, such as a store’s location or hours.

For consumers shopping online this holiday season, convenience and the Website experience will be critical to any Web-based business’ success this year. A survey of nearly 2,400 U.S. adults commissioned by Riverbed Technology and conducted by Harris Interactive found the vast majority of respondents (89 percent) would stop shopping at a Website because of poor Website experiences, and 79 percent said the overall Website experience is absolutely essential or important when choosing a site to shop.

While 36 percent of participants reported they often encounter difficulties including slow load times, site fails and navigation difficult when shopping online, most customers are accustomed to less-than-ideal experiences, with 44 percent of online shoppers having to cancel an online order midway through the checkout process because the site was too slow.