APAC tablets to hit 21M units in 2015

Shipments of media tablets in region to propel ten-fold from 2 million in 2010 to 21 million by 2015, as more consumers hanker for tablets, says new report.

Media tablets in the Asia-Pacific region excluding Japan is set for a massive growth spurt, multiplying nearly ten times to reach 21 million units by 2015, up from 2 million units shipped in 2010. That represents a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 54 percent, according to a new report from IDC.

In a statement released Thursday, the analyst firm said more consumers across the region are adopting media tablets to fulfill game, Web-browsing, and social networking needs on the go.

IDC observed that there is "high interest" for tablet computers in economies mature in the use of mobile devices, such as South Korea, Australia and Taiwan. As for emerging countries, China continues to demonstrate high purchasing power for new tech products. But others such as Indonesia and Malaysia have more conservative attitudes toward media tablets, and still prefer mini-notebooks with better keyboard input and a familiar user experience, IDC pointed out.

Compared to tablets, IDC's forecast for e-readers was less rosy at a CAGR of 18 percent.

Dickie Chang, senior market analyst for client devices research at IDC Asia-Pacific, explained that e-readers are limited to a single function, one that is already covered by media tablets. In addition, tablets can offer a better reading experience with color displays, he pointed out.

The lack of localized content, he added, is an issue for e-readers in Asia. Some consumers in China, for instance, still rely on pirated content downloaded via the Internet.

"Online bookstores haven't been earning device vendors wide margins on content, and face aggressive iPad pricing, squeezing them further," he said in the statement.

Apple helms market
iPhone and iPad maker, Apple, was singled out by IDC as the leader in the media tablet market in the region. It noted that the Cupertino-based tech giant became more active in Asia for its launch of iPad 2--similar to its approach with the iPhone 3G. Apple's aggressive pricing and strong branding has left little room for other players to prosper, it added.

Rival Samsung from South Korea and maker of the Galaxy tablets has been relying on its domestic brand strength to boost its numbers, IDC noted. Other local Chinese brands form the long tail, and may survive in some niche markets with product development speed being their key strength, it said.

Melissa Chau, research manager for client devices research at IDC Asia-Pacific, added: "Over the next five years, Apple will set the pace for the media tablet category. Competitors to iPad must innovate ways to differentiate their products though, lest consumer interest wanes in favor of the next tech gadget."


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