Tablet sales to double in 2012

Worldwide consumer tablet sales are forecasted to reach 118.9 million units in 2012, according to market research firm Gartner. The figure represents a 98% increase from 2011, when Gartner says 60 million media tablets were sold. The firm predicts Apple’s iPad will continue to be the dominant tablet and is projected to account for 61.4% of worldwide sales in 2012, despite the success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire and the arrival of Microsoft’s Windows 8 platform. Read on for more.

Android tablets are expected to account for 31.9% of tablet sales in 2012, and in the coming years, Apple’s sales are expected to grow at a slower rate as Android slates become more popular. Worldwide sales are estimated to reach 369.2 million units by 2016, including 169.6 million iPads and by 137.6 million Android tablets. Microsoft tablets are projected to account for just 4.1% of sales in 2012, and just 11.8% by the end of 2016 according to Gartner.

“IT departments will see Windows 8 as the opportunity to deploy tablets on an OS that is familiar to them and with devices offered by many enterprise-class suppliers,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. “This means that we see Windows 8 as a strong IT-supplied offering more so than an OS with a strong consumer appeal.” Gartner’s press release follows below.

Gartner Says Worldwide Media Tablets Sales to Reach 119 Million Units in 2012

Enterprise Sales of Media Tablets Will Account for Approximately 35 Percent of Sales in 2015

STAMFORD, Conn., April 10, 2012— Worldwide media tablet sales to end users are forecast to total 118.9 million units in 2012, a 98 percent increase from 2011 sales of 60 million units, according to Gartner, Inc.
Apple’s iOS continues to be the dominant media tablet operating system (OS), as it is projected to account for 61.4 percent of worldwide media tablet sales to end users in 2012 (see Table 1). Despite the arrival of Microsoft-based devices to this market, and the expected international rollout of the Kindle Fire, Apple will continue to be the market leader through the forecast period.

“Despite PC vendors and phone manufacturers wanting a piece of the pie and launching themselves into the media tablet market, so far, we have seen very limited success outside of Apple with its iPad,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. “As vendors struggled to compete on price and differentiate enough on either the hardware or ecosystem, inventories were built and only 60 million units actually reached the hands of consumers across the world. The situation has not improved in early 2012, when the arrival of the new iPad has reset the benchmark for the product to beat.”

“It appears that this year competitors have waited to see what Apple would bring out — because there were very few announcements of new media tablets at either the Consumer Electronics Show or Mobile World Congress. Many vendors will wait for Windows 8 to be ready and will try to enter the market with a dual-platform approach, hoping that the Microsoft brand could help them in both the enterprise and consumer markets.”


Microsoft tablets are projected to account for 4.1 percent of media tablet sales this year, and grow to 11.8 percent of sales by the end of 2016. Windows 8 is Microsoft’s official entrance into the media tablet market.

“IT departments will see Windows 8 as the opportunity to deploy tablets on an OS that is familiar to them and with devices offered by many enterprise-class suppliers,” Ms. Milanesi said. “This means that we see Windows 8 as a strong IT-supplied offering more so than an OS with a strong consumer appeal.”

Gartner analysts said enterprise sales of media tablets will account for about 35 percent of total tablet sales sold in 2015. These sales will not be clearly defined as enterprise purchases. Gartner expects enterprises to allow tablets as part of their buy your own device (BYOD) program. More of these tablets will be owned by consumers who use them at work.

“This poses a big threat to vendors that thought about focusing on the enterprise market who will now have to become appealing to consumers as well,” Ms. Milanesi said. “This is exactly the same trend that vendors such as RIM had to face in the smartphone market. The difference here is that tablets have been created for consumers first and then relied on an ecosystem of apps and services that make them more manageable in the enterprise. When the deployment will come from the IT department we believe that operating systems such as Windows 8 will have an advantage as long as they are not seen as a compromise in usability for the users.”

Android tablets are forecast to account for 31.9 percent of media tablet sales in 2012. Gartner analysts said the main issue with Android tablets has been the lack of applications that are dedicated to tablets and therefore take advantage of their capabilities. Gartner’s consumer survey data shows that consumers are running many of their apps on their mobile phones and their tablets.

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