A new report out yesterday by market analyst firm IDC contains increased forecast shipments of tablets this year and through to 2016. The forecast for tablet sales in 2012 has been increased from 106.1 million units to 107.4 million units. By 2016 tablet sales should reach 222.1 million units. The biggest impact on the increased numbers this year is due to the sales boost that originated in March with the launch of the new iPad 3.
IDC say the demand for tablets has been robust and more and more businesses are interested in acquiring tablets for their mobile workforce. “We expect pending new products from major players, increasingly affordable mainstream devices, and a huge marketing blitz from Microsoft around Windows 8 to drive increased consumer interest in the category through the end of the year.” said Tom Mainelli, a research director from IDC.
The change in market shares predicted for the current year are even more significant than the overall tablet sales increase. IDC forecasts the market share of iOS devices to grow strongly while Android tablet market share declines. “IDC now expects iOS to grow its share of the market in 2012 to 62.5%, up from 58.2% in 2011. Meanwhile Android's share will slip from 38.7% in 2011 to 36.5% in 2012”. Mr Mainelli added that “The addition of the Retina Display and 4G capabilities to the third-generation products clearly enticed many current owners to upgrade. And Apple's decision to keep two iPad 2s in the market at lower prices, moving the entry-level price down to $399, seems to be paying off as well. If Apple launches a sub-$300, 7-inch product into the market later this year as rumored, we expect the company’s grip on this market to become even stronger.”
Though Windows 8 tablets will launch in numbers and with a “huge marketing blitz” later in the year IDC says it has no numerical forecasts specifically for the new tablet platform. “We don't expect Windows-based tablets to necessarily take share from Apple and Android, but will grow the overall tablet market.” Tom Mainelli explained. While media tablets are going strong IDC has found the sales of eReaders is stagnant, this year there will be more or less the same figure sold as last year; 28 million units. It is thought that low priced tablets, and possibly phablets, are impacting upon eReader sales.