With news of Apple’s new iPad selling out its first run due to overwhelming demand, 2012 is off to a galloping start for the tablet market; and because of that IDC is upping its forecasts for how many “media” tablets will be shipped this year. The analysts predict that the number will top 106.1 million units, up from their previous forecast of 87.7 million units, due in part to strong demand for that new iPad, but also a number of other devices at a range of price points.
Indeed, while Apple will continue to be the single biggest tablet maker on the market, Android, collectively, will continue to hold its own against it, with some notable devices like the Amazon Kindle Fire doing particularly well. But it will not be until 2016 — four years from now — that IDC thinks that Android shipments will outnumber those of iOS.
Even though the Kindle Fire was available only in the U.S. in Q4, IDC says that the $199 device accounted for 16.8 percent of all tablet shipments in Q4 2011, or some 4.7 million units, making it the largest “Android” vendor. Samsung, despite its multiple Android tablets, was bumped down to second-biggest Android maker with a 5.8 percent share of the market. Barnes & Noble and Pandigital, the other top Android tablet makers, both saw their shares of shipments slide. The tablets to watch, it seems, are those that combine low price with high content promise.
None of that was a match for Apple, however, which accounted for 54.7 percent of all shipments in Q4, or 15.4 million units. While that was a rise of 110 percent over the year before, that still did not outpace the overall growth of the tablet market, which IDC says grew by 155 percent between the two quarters. Overall, Android tablets accounted for 44.6 percent of all sales, while RIM’s PlayBook slipped down to 0.7 percent from 1.1 percent a year before.
A couple of things worth noting about IDC’s numbers, taken from its quarterly tablet and e-reader tracker:
Although many predict that e-readers will eventually die a death blow dealt by tablets, for the moment their fortunes look okay. They grew less than half as well as tablets did — up by 64.3 percent between Q4 2011 and 2011 — but they are still on the rise, with e-reader makers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo in total shipping 10.7 million units in the quarter.
IDC gives no weight to Microsoft and its new, tablet-friendly Windows 8 platform in its “media tablet” forecasts. As we saw last month, there are a number of devices being built on the OS, and if you believe all the reports, there will be more coming from the likes of Nokia to add to that. These are not expected to start shipping in earnest until much later this year. In its forecast, “others” apart from iOS and Android account for only a tiny sliver of overall shipments — and, by default, sales.
And that’s the other point always worth remembering about shipments. This tends to be the metric tracked most closely by analysts, because they get their numbers from device makers but also the channels that receive and distribute them; the shipment numbers are based on estimated demand. Ultimately, though, sometimes these shipments are out of sync with how a product actually gets bought — although analysts usually say that in the long run those corrections are accounted for with fewer shipments in subsequent quarters.
IDC is a global market intelligence and consulting firm. It specializes in providing market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. It offers research through its divisions. IDC Energy Insights focuses on market and technology developments in the energy and utility industries. IDC Financial Insights enables financial services industry executives to maximize the business value of their technology investments, minimize technology risk through accurate planning, benchmark themselves against industry peers, adopt industry...
The Apple iPad, formerly referred to as the Apple Tablet, is a touch-pad tablet computer announced in January 2010, and released in April 2010. It has internet capabilities running on either WiFi or 3G, and offers an optional dock with a full size mechanical keyboard. The iPad is a line of tablet computers designed, developed and marketed by Apple Inc. primarily as a platform for audio-visual media including books, periodicals, movies, music, games, and web content. Its size and...
Kindle Fire brings you Movies, apps, games, music, reading and more, plus Amazon’s cloud-accelerated web browser Product features: 18 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, and books Amazon Appstore - thousands of popular apps and games Ultra-fast web browsing - Amazon Silk Free cloud storage for all your Amazon content Vibrant color touchscreen with extra-wide viewing angle Fast, powerful dual-core processor Amazon Prime members enjoy unlimited, instant streaming of over 10,000 popular movies and TV shows