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Tablet Growth to Continue, says Futuresource

David Murphy

Total global Tablet sales, including the consumer, commercial, industrial and institutional sectors, exceeded 64m units in 2011, and are on track to soar to 232m units in 2016, according to the latest Tablet Technology and Markets report from Futuresource Consulting.

In the consumer market, tablet ownership will increase by 200 per cent across the US and Western Europe over the next two years. An installed base of nearly 52m was achieved in 2011 across the two regions, with the market on track to exceed 153m units in 2013. Ownership will be highest in the US, with Western European markets showing significant opportunities for growth.

Tablets have cannibalised the demand for netbooks, but consumers still see the device as an addition to conventional PCs or Macs rather than a replacement. As a result, consumer tablet sales dominated the overall tablet market in 2011, accounting for over 90 per cent of Tablet shipments.

In addition, the report notes, Tablets are a significant force in the growth of the app market, accounting for 10 per cent of total mobile app downloads in 2011; and with the relentless development, and availability of apps across multiple platforms, expectations are for this share to almost double in 2016. More importantly, according to another new consumer research report in the ‘Living with Digital’ series from Futuresource, Tablet owners are more likely to pay for apps, particularly within the US.

Tablet owners are keen media users, a trait which Futuresource says presents a lucrative opportunity for content owners to develop major added-value services to complement existing offers. It is unlikely that Tablets will displace large screen TV sets, though they will drive full length online video growth, with key applications allowing content to be played out from one screen to another, providing users with high quality mobile viewing.

Apple has maintained its dominance since the launch of the first iPad. However as Android-powered devices from Samsung, Amazon and Asus gain traction and increase in popularity, it is no longer all about the iPad. Futuresource anticipates a notable rise in market share from other brands, as more advanced devices are launched and content platforms develop, providing the option to move content across multiple devices.

The report also notes that Tablets have revolutionised the world of news publishing, with the majority of publishers now selling digital editions, and together with dedicated eReaders such as Amazon’s Kindle, these devices have triggered a shift away from printed books towards eBooks. Annual trade for digital book sales is forecast to achieve significant growth, with digital downloads in the US expected to account for almost 70 per cent of book sales by 2016, a substantial rise from 20 per cent in 2011. Similar progression is expected in the UK, with digital sales reaching almost 40 per cent market share.