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Notwithstanding Android surge, Apple to lead Tablet Market [IDC]

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Apple will continue to be the leader in market share of tablet shipments worldwide over the next 4 years despite the surging demand for android devices, according to IDC’s Market Share Forecast. The firm also raised its forecast for global tablet shipments in 2012 by 4.4% from 117.1 million or 11.71 crore to 122.3 million or 12.23 crore.

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The optimism for growth in the worldwide tablet market comes at the back of a robust demand for Apple’s iPad Mini and the increase in demand for Android devices, according to the market intelligence provider.

According to IDC’s forecast, Apple is set to bite off a market share slightly more than half of all the tablets shipped worldwide in 2012. At 53.8% market share, the iPad and iPad Mini are set to log approximately 6.6 crore in shipments in 2012 alone.

Over the next four years, IDC predicts the market share of iOS devices to shrink marginally to 49.7% of global shipments. However as the tablet market grows, Apple’s devices will see a healthy 20.9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) despite the contracting market share. Even at 49.7%, nearly 14 crore iOS devices are predicted to be shipped globally in 2016.

Shipments of tablets based on the android OS are set to grab 42.7% market share in 2012, higher than 39.7% in 2011. The consistent surge in demand seen for android tablets is said to be a result of feature packed product launches by companies including Samsung, LG, Amazon, Google and others over the last few quarters.

Commentators have seen android devices gaining popularity on the base of affordability, versatility and a wider product choice for tablet users on a budget that may not be enough to accommodate the premium iOS devices.

IDC’s report pegs the growth in demand for android tablets globally to be fuelled by new product launches by leading tech giants with established presence in the domain. In addition, the foray of top-tier PC makers like ASUS and Lenovo into the tablet domain is also set to help drive android’s popularity.

"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" said Ryan Reith, Program Manager, IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers.

Microsoft Tablet to grow fiercely

Rising from a 1% market share in 2011, Windows OS based devices will account for 2.9% of the 12.23 crore tablets shipped in 2012. According to IDC, Microsoft’s Surface and other Windows based tablets will eat into iOS’ and Android’s market share to account for 10.3% of all the tablets shipped worldwide by 2016. Effectively in the next four years, shipments of tablets powered by Windows OS are expected to log a significant 69.2% CAGR.

The uptick in the tablet domain comes at the cost of a top out in the shipments e-reader devices. Despite the popularity of recent launches of dedicated e-readers by Amazon and Barnes & Noble, IDC expects 1.99 crore devices to be shipped globally in 2012, down nearly 28% from 2.77 crore in 2011. User preferences are said to be tilting towards media tablets to satisfy e-reading needs.

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