Five years ago, there was no iPad and no tablet market to speak of. Today, however, the tablet market is thriving and projected to enjoy a steep growth trajectory in the coming years, with Apple’s iPad at the forefront of device adoption. According to global market research firm IHS iSuppli, which examined 2011 tablet shipments, the iPad accounted for 62% of worldwide shipments in 2011.
Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which debuted right in time for the 2011 holiday shopping season, met analysts’ expectations and shipped 14% of all tablets in Q4, cutting slightly into the iPad’s dominant lead. In total, Amazon shipped 3.9 million Fire tablets that quarter, or 6% of tablets for the year.
iSuppli’s findings also suggest that Apple’s own smartphone product, the iPhone 4S, might have cut into some iPad sales in Q4. Those who might have purchased an iPad may have instead used the discretionary spending toward a new iPhone. With the iPad 3 coming in just months, however, Apple is sure to attract new tablet shoppers, and Amazon will have to work furiously to maintain double-digit market share.
eMarketer predicts iPad penetration in the US will nearly double from 2011 to 2013, from just over 12% of internet users to 22%. But even as iPad usage grows, other tablets will account for a greater share of tablet users in the US, with the Apple device’s user share predicted to drop from 83% in 2011 to just 68% by the end of 2014.
eMarketer forecasts significant growth in the number of tablet users, predicting there will be 54.8 million tablet users in the US by the end of 2012. And by the end of 2014, that number will nearly double to 89.5 million.
IHS iSuppli is forecasting strong sales for the iPad 3 and expecting Apple to sell out of its supply. Given the rapid adoption of tablets in general, consumers are undoubtedly a few steps ahead of marketers in terms of usage and sophistication. In light of Apple’s product release and stealthy forecasts, marketers should examine their tablet marketing strategies and design campaigns based on usage trends and with an eye to creating tablet-specific experiences.
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