Latest Tablet Shipments Forecast: Lots More

Published on September 19, 2012
by John Paczkowski

The economic concerns troubling consumers these days don’t seem to be having much effect on tablet sales. Demand for the devices is unceasing, so much so that market researchers are adjusting their shipment forecasts upward.

IDC, which had previously been looking for global tablet shipments of 107 million for the year, on Wednesday raised that by 9 percent. It now expects tablet shipments to hit 117.1 million units this year. That’s a nearly 70 percent increase over the 69 million tablets shipped last year.

Significant annual gains will follow. IDC figures tablet shipments top out at 165.9 million in 2013, up from its prior estimate of 142 million. And by 2016, shipments could hit 261 million. Unsurprisingly, Apple and Google stand to benefit the most from this trend. IDC figures Apple will claim 60 percent of the tablet market this year and cede just 2 percent of it in the years that follow, for a share of 58 percent by 2016. It expects Android to capture 35 percent of the market this year and to be holding on to a 30.5 percent share four years from now.

So where will that lost share end up? With Microsoft.

IDC reckons Windows-based tablet will carve out a 4 percent share in 2012 and extend that to 11 percent by 2016. “Tablets running Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 and RT operating systems, including the company’s own Surface tablets, will add some momentum,” IDC analyst Jennifer Song explains. “However, we expect shipments to remain low in the fourth quarter as high prices and consumer confusion around these devices will limit their appeal.”

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