The latest tablet predictions from the IDC research firm is out and here’s the lowdown: Android is gaining traction while Apple is not, Windows will steal future market share and tablets are more popular than ever.
IDC credits strong competition and more consumer buying options for a 2012 forecast of the worldwide tablet market to 122.3 million, which is up for its previous forecast of 117.1 million.
“Tablets continue to captivate consumers, and as the market shifts toward smaller, more mobile screen sizes and lower prices points, we expect demand to accelerate in the fourth quarter and beyond,” Tom Mainelli, IDC research director for tablets, said in a press release. ”Android tablets are gaining traction in the market thanks to solid products from Google, Amazon, Samsung, and others. And Apple’s November iPad mini launch, along with its surprise refresh of the full-sized iPad, positions the company well for a strong holiday season.”
Interesting to note that IDC predicts Windows-based tablets to steal some thunder from iOS and Android, growing from 2.9 percent in 2012 all the way to 10.2 percent in 2016. However, that likely won’t be due to the Surface, which could see fewer than 1 million sales in its debut quarter.
The same doesn’t hold true for Windows on the mobile side. IDC has significantly reduced its long-term forecast for Microsoft’s Windows Phone and expects it to post 11.4 percent market share in 2016, in third place behind Android (63.8 percent) and iOS (19.1 percent).
While Apple is ready for a nice holiday season with the iPad and iPad mini, IDC expects its tablet share to slip from 56.3 percent in 2011 to 53.8 percent in 2012. On the flip-side, Android’s tablet share is predicted to increase from 39.8 percent in 2011 to 42.7 percent this year. That’s good news for Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets, which are powered by Android and are apparently reaching new sales records.
“The breadth and depth of Android has taken full effect on the tablet market as it has for the smartphone space,” Ryan Reith, program manager for IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers, said in the release. “Android tablet shipments will certainly act as the catalyst for growth in the low-cost segment in emerging markets given the platform’s low barrier to entry on manufacturing.”
The IDC increased its 2013 tablet forecast number to 172.4 million units, up from 165.9 million units. It also upped its forecasted 2016 worldwide shipments to 282.7 million units, up from a previous prediction of 261.4 million units.
The popularity of tablets is hurting sales of eReaders. The research firms expects 2012 eReader shipments to end up at 19.9 million units, down from the 27.7 million units that shipped in 2011.
Previously on GeekWire: Microsoft’s Surface Pro: Yep, this feels like a tough sell
Reach staff reporter Taylor Soper at email@example.com or on Twitter @Taylor_Soper