NPD: Apple iPad market share to decrease from 72.1% in 2012 to 50.9% in 2017

Shipments of tablet PCs are expected to grow from 81.6 million units in 2011 to 424.9 million units by 2017, according to the latest NPD DisplaySearch Tablet Quarterly report. The forecast for 2013 shipments has increased from 168.9 million to 184.2 million. This forecast estimates that in 2016 more tablet PCs will be shipped than notebook PCs. A growing diversity of operating systems is driving the increase in demand for tablets, as well as rapidly evolving features. At the same time, the capacity of component manufacturing is being increased to meet new market demand.

“So far in this relatively young product category, the tablet PC market has been dominated by Apple and has tended to include a number of competing products that are similarly configured to the iPad,” said Richard Shim, NPD DisplaySearch Senior Analyst. “However, as the market matures and competitors become better attuned to consumer preferences and find opportunities to break new ground, we expect the landscape to change dramatically, giving consumers more choices, which will drive demand for more devices.”

The industry has already witnessed some diversification in the market with the early success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire, with its “razor/razor blade model” of low-priced device predicated on content purchases. NPD DisplaySearch also expects increased investments in the tablet supply chain—amidst a lull in the growth of other device categories—to lead to more opportunities for new technologies to challenge incumbents.

NPD DisplaySearch expects an increase in investments to boost shipment growth in mature markets as retailers, brands, and consumers experiment with emerging tablet opportunities.

Figure 1: Worldwide Tablet PC Emerging and Mature Market Shipment Forecast
NPD Worldwide Tablet PC Operating System Forecast 2011-2017
Source: Q1’12 NPD DisplaySearch Tablet Quarterly report

A key area where there is room for differentiation is operating systems. NPD DisplaySearch expects three operating systems to establish significant share in the market: Apple iOS, Google Android, and Microsoft Windows RT. The iOS operating system has been dominant in tablet PCs, but it is expected to lose share, from 72.1% in 2012 to 50.9% in 2017, as Android increases from 22.5% 2012 to 40.5% over the same period. Meanwhile, share for Windows RT is also expected to grow, but from a very small base of 1.5% in 2012 to 7.5% in 2017.

In terms of component production, many display manufacturers are transitioning tablet panel production to larger plants, including Gen 6 and Gen 8, which will lead to greater capacity for tablet displays, as well as lower prices. In addition, the share of AMOLED displays in tablets is forecast to increase from 3% in 2012 to 30% by 2017.

Figure 2: Worldwide Tablet PC Operating System Forecast
NPD Worldwide Tablet PC Operating System Forecast 211-2017
Source: Q1’12 NPD DisplaySearch Tablet Quarterly report

NPD DisplaySearch’s Tablet Quarterly report tracks quarterly changes in tablet PC products and strategies, and forecasts the impact of those changes on the market. It covers the changing landscape of screen sizes, features that are expected to be included and excluded in future tablets, and operating systems.

For more information on this report, please contact Charles Camaroto at 1.888.436.7673 or 1.516.625.2452, or or contact your regional NPD DisplaySearch office in China, Japan, Korea or Taiwan.

Source: The NPD Group, Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: Unit share is fine, but whisk… er, profit share is better!

This forecast has been iCal’ed for future use.


  1. ROFL !!

    Very fictitious numbers at best, total guesswork more likely. Make the numbers in a way that produces colourful graphs!!

    By the time MS have windows 8 available For tablets, the whole world will associate the word iPad with tablet computing.

    What is more likely, is for the increased iOS penetration into the corporate world will make CEO’s, CTO’s and CFO’s realise that they don’t need to pay MS tax for every employee.

    1. Once time-travel is perfected, faulty forecasts will be a thing of the past. Until then, NPD will have to continue to rely on an active imagination to supply their very “useful” predictions.

    2. OMG! This is not new, they took the exact same presention and numbers they used for the iPod market share and changed it to iPad.

      Yeah, and how well did they do with that prediction?! I don’t know, is there another portable music player left on the market except the iPod?

      If so I’ve never seen one.

    3. You could work with these same numbers and come up with an entirely different conclusion that stated in the title.

      Tablet shipment estimates are roughly 120M for 2012 and 425M for 2017. That is an increase in total tablet shipments of approximately 250%.

      Apple’s iPad share of the tablet market is estimated to decline from 72.1% in 2012 to 50.9% in 2017 – a decline of 29.4%.

      So Apple would have a somewhat smaller share of a much larger market. Now that doesn’t sound too bad, does it?

      Using these estimated values, Apple’s iPad unit shipments would increase from 86.5M in 2012 to 216.3M in 2017 – an increase of 150%. Or, stated another way, they are predicting that Apple will sell 2.5 times as many iPads in 2017 as they sell in 2012.

      Even if the average selling price of an iPad is only $400 in 2017, 129M units would bring in $51.6B in gross revenue. Not bad on top of Apple’s other revenue from the iPhone, Mac, iTunes, iPod, etc.

      As a minor AAPL shareholder, that’s the kind of market share decline that I can handle!

      1. @ Kingmel, thanks for doing the math. I was thinking the very same thing. The author apparently preferred to cast doubt on Apple by not showing the huge increase in Apple’s units sold. Not a thing about how the other 50% is divided among Android, Windows, and other competing OSes, let alone share by vendor. Just the same old doom and gloom as Apple slips from 70% to 50% in five years.

        1. Glad that you found it helpful, J2. People often call it “spin.” But I think that it is misleading to twist reality like that. It is all too common nowadays. Just tried to put the numbers in context.

  2. That’s still selling about 3.66 times as many as they are now, at similar prices, with similar profits. The vast majority of those other tablets will be sold at tiny margins to customers many of whom would be too cheap to buy an iPad even if there was no alternative. So basically most of them would be customers Apple wouldn’t be interested in, and would prefer other companies have AND probably lose money on.

  3. How ridiculous. Five years ago did they even predict there would be a tablet market today. Who is to say what sort of device we will be using in 2017. Such predictions are utterly useless.

  4. Would not surprise me in the least to see 1 or 2 more models of tablets from Apple to sweep up the crumbs…just like with the laptop scene.

    For a competitor to match Apple in attracting users, the hardware quality must be there, the stable OS, the programming tools and Apps and the system integration with other devices.

    I don’t see it as impossible for competitors, but I see it as very difficult for the Droids to catch up, as the investment has to be huge.

    Apple is NOT going to sit still here either.

    To grab all those consumers, the competition is going to have to leapfrog Apple SOMEHOW…HOW? PRICE?

    Can a competitor get significant consumers by dropping features, quality & price by $150 per unit?

    You can buy 1-2 year old iPads for those prices and not have a poor tablet experience, so why leave Apple? Apple is setting the bar for entry VERY HIGH.

    iCal the “analyst”

  5. Apple’s iPad marketshare will always be 100% because Apple is the only company making them

    What’s this tablet PC thing you are trying to compare iPads to ?
    By the same reasoning we could say that Apple’s marketshare of rectangular devices will decline in the comming years. That would ne just as meaningless

  6. Even if this pans out as predicted, the increase in absolute growth will swamp out any loss in relative share.

    Unless there is a big shift in how tablets are distributed / bought (such as significant subsidies, and /or bundled packages with wireless or cable companies), most experts feel iPad tablet will be similar to iPod PMP share. I tend to agree.

  7. OK. So they expect the number of OSs to go from 6 to 4. And that is supposed to be increased diversity? About as cogent as the rest of the assumptions they’ve made.

    Can’t fix stupid.

  8. (1) the tablet market is not new, it has been around for over a decade
    (3) these guys couldn’t even tell you reliably if it is going to rain two days from now.

  9. How about publishing some of their reports from previous years ?

    I think that every time a prediction from analysts or researchers is published, the article should also include links to their previous predictions on that topic so that we can assess how good they have been in the past and apply a suitable weighting factor to what they are saying today.

  10. “…as the market matures and competitors become better attuned….”

    Maybe so, but that statement requires assumptions which are unsupported by evidence. The charts remind me of 10 day weather forecasts. Meteorologists have actual measurements and predictive models and they can’t get it right.

  11. [i]”A growing diversity of operating systems is driving the increase in demand for tablets, as well as rapidly evolving features.” [/i]

    If your opening premis for prognostication is wrong, then your conclusion will be wrong! . . . “A growing number of OS IS DRIVING the increase in demand” – WRONG! Apple is driving the increase, as well as evolving the USEFUL features that assist and sell!

    1. +1
      That line jumped out at me as being completely wrong. It doesn’t make logical sense even when you know nothing about the actual market – why in the world would having a more confusing selection of OS platforms to choose from lead to MORE people buying? Again and again, we’ve seen research that shows that too many confusing choices tends to make people give up, or choose poorly and then hold off buying replacements for longer, as they assume all must be lousy.

      NPD seems to have a very poor grasp of the facts of the post-PC marketplace.

  12. Sorry, but I just can’t see that many people going with Windows ReTread, and Android should be pretty well dead by 2014 if only half of its actual copying of other people’s IP is recognized in court.

    This graph, while pretty, is entirely meaningless.

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