Expectations of strong demand for media tablets in the second half of 2012 has led International Data Corporation (IDC) to increase its forecast for the worldwide market to 107.4 million units for the year, up from its previous forecast of 106.1 million units. In the latest forecast update of the Worldwide Quarterly Media Tablet and eReader Tracker, IDC also revised upward its 2013 forecast number from 137.4 million units to 142.8 million units. And by 2016 worldwide shipments should reach 222.1 million units.
“Demand for media tablets remains robust, and we see an increasing interest in the category from the commercial side,” said Tom Mainelli, research director, Mobile Connected Devices at IDC, in a statement. “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.”
In addition to increasing the unit totals for 2012, IDC also updated its forecast to shift a larger percentage of future units toward iOS and away from Android. 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. IDC expects third-place Blackberry to slip from 1.7% to 1%.
“After a very strong launch of new products in March, Apple’s iPad shows few signs of slowing down,” Mainelli added. “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.”
IDC is not currently forecasting Windows 8 or Windows RT tablets in its Media Tablet Tracker (they appear in the PC Tracker forecast). However, beginning next quarter, IDC will institute several taxonomy changes that will bring all tablet slates, regardless of OS or processor type, into the Media Tablet Tracker.
“We’re looking forward to rolling the Windows-based tablets into our tablet forecast in order to give customers a complete view of tablet slates all in one place,” Mainelli commented. “Our current thinking, based upon early pricing expectations for these products, is that Windows-based tablets will be largely additive to our existing media tablet market forecast. We don’t expect Windows-based tablets to necessarily take share from Apple and Android, but will grow the overall tablet market.”
While IDC increased its forecast for media tablets in 2012, the firm significantly lowered its forecast for eReaders in 2012. After a disappointing first quarter, and strong indications that low-priced tablets are significantly impacting demand, IDC now expects 2012 shipments to be stable at around 28 million units, down slightly from the 28.2 million units that shipped in 2011.
Source: International Data Corporation