At this time of year, everyone is making predications for 2013. Instead of stating the obvious — mobile will surge– we will look back to last May, when we predicted that the preferred mobile format for reading on the internet would be the tablet rather than the handset. Of course we didn’t know then that there would be a next gen retina display iPad, a Nexus 7, a Windows Surface, and an iPad Mini, any one of which could cause a big increase in mobile readers.
But indeed we got all of them within a six-month period, so it’s not surprising that IDC’s latest survey says tablets have grown faster than handsets this year, for the first time in history.
IDC says it’s the competition in the space that led it to to increase its 2012 forecast for the worldwide tablet market to 122.3 million, up from its previous forecast of 117.1 million units. In the latest forecast update of the Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, IDC also raised its 2013 forecast number to 172.4 million units, up from 165.9 million units. And by 2016 worldwide shipments should reach 282.7 million units, up from a previous forecast of 261.4 million units.
It doesn’t hurt that the prices on tablets are coming down, and indeed some tablets cost just about the same amount as a new smartphone (although the phones continue to be subsidized.)
Also from IDC’s press release comes a shift in market splits: just like in the handset space, Android is catching up. IDC expects “Android’s worldwide tablet share to increase from 39.8% in 2011 to 42.7% for the full year of 2012. During that same time Apple’s share will slip from 56.3% in 2011 to 53.8% in 2012. Long term, IDC predicts Windows-based tablets (including Windows 8 and Windows RT) will grab share from both iOS and Android, growing from 1% of the market in 2011 to 2.9% in 2012, on its way to 10.2% in 2016.”
Android appeals to the lower end of the market, and to people in emerging markets, because of its lower price.