ABI: Tablet shipments exploded in Q2 to surpass netbooks for the first time

Global tablet sales into channels exploded in the second quarter of 2011 to surpass netbooks for the first time in the emerging category’s young history. Market research and intelligence firm ABI Research determined that shipments of media tablets ballooned 112.5% in the second quarter to reach 13.6 million units, up from 6.4 million tablets in the first quarter this year. Netbook shipments declined from 8.4 million units to 7.3 million over the same period, just over half the number of media tablets shipped in the quarter. “This is a trend that we do not expect will reverse,” said ABI’s group director, mobile devices Jeff Orr in a statement. “As they are different segments, this is not a direct replacement behavior, but a changing of leadership for the most interesting device type.” ABI says Apple’s iPad line was responsible for 68% of tablets shipped globally in the second quarter, and the firm expects 60 million media tablets to ship globally in 2011. The firm’s full press release follows below.

Media Tablets Eclipse Netbook Sales for the First Time in 2Q11

NEW YORK – October 20, 2011

​Media tablet shipments surpassed netbook shipments this quarter, reaching 13.6 million units, compared to just 7.3 million netbooks. Netbooks had previously led the way with 8.4 million shipments in 1Q11, compared to just 6.4 million media tablets.

“This is a trend that we do not expect will reverse,” says Jeff Orr, group director, mobile devices. “As they are different segments, this is not a direct replacement behavior, but a changing of leadership for the most interesting device type.”

Driving media tablet interest is Apple’s iPad 2. 68% of the media tablet shipments in 2Q11 consisted of Apple iPad models. Consumers are choosing tablets over netbooks for a number of reasons. “Media tablets are perceived to be easy to use, compared to the keyboard and mouse interface of a netbook computer. Those who have avoided PCs because they are difficult to use – think the Baby Boomer generation and older – see media tablets as an opportunity to re-engage with Internet access. Cost, however, is certainly not a reason driving tablet interest, as the average media tablet costs approximately $600 and the average netbook is only about half of that,” says Orr.

While 32 million netbooks and 60 million media tablets are expected to ship worldwide in 2011, netbooks still hold interest in underserved countries, where PC penetration to the home, along with broadband services, are not widely available. Media tablet shipments will primarily cater to the early-adopter consumer audiences of Western Europe, the US, Japan, and South Korea.

ABI Research’s new market data, “Tablets, Netbooks, and Mobile CE Market Data,” provides forecasts for all ultra-mobile devices (UMDs), including netbooks, media tablets, UMPCs, mobile Internet devices (MIDs) and six types of mobile broadband-enabled consumer electronics (CE) devices.

It is part of the Tablets, Netbooks & Mobile CE Research Service.

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