Gartner Says Worldwide Media Tablets Sales To Reach 119 Million Units In 2012

Worldwide media tablet sales to end users are forecast to total 118.9 million units in 2012, a 98 percent increase from 2011 sales of 60 million units, according to Gartner, Inc.

Apple's iOS continues to be the dominant media tablet OS, as it is projected to account for 61.4 percent of worldwide media tablet sales to end users in 2012 (see Table 1). Despite the arrival of Microsoft-based devices to this market, and the expected international rollout of the Kindle Fire, Apple will continue to be the market leader through the forecast period.

"Despite PC vendors and phone manufacturers wanting a piece of the pie and launching themselves into the media tablet market, so far, we have seen very limited success outside of Apple with its iPad," said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. "As vendors struggled to compete on price and differentiate enough on either the hardware or ecosystem, inventories were built and only 60 million units actually reached the hands of consumers across the world. The situation has not improved in early 2012, when the arrival of the new iPad has reset the benchmark for the product to beat."

"It appears that this year competitors have waited to see what Apple would bring out — because there were very few announcements of new media tablets at either the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) or Mobile World Congress (MWC). Many vendors will wait for Windows 8 to be ready and will try to enter the market with a dual-platform approach, hoping that the Microsoft brand could help them in both the enterprise and consumer markets."

Table 1

Worldwide Sales of Media Tablets to End Users by OS (Thousands of Units)
       
OS   2011   2012   2013   2016
iOS   39,998   72,988   99,553   169,652
Android   17,292   37,878   61,684   137,657
Microsoft   0   4,863   14,547   43,648
QNX   807   2,643   6,036   17,836
Other Operating Systems   1,919   510   637   464
Total Market   60,017   118,883   182,457   369,258

Source: Gartner (April 2012)

Microsoft tablets are projected to account for 4.1 percent of media tablet sales this year, and grow to 11.8 percent of sales by the end of 2016. Windows 8 is Microsoft's official entrance into the media tablet market.

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