Enterprise adoption of the tablet is expected to pick up significantly in coming years, according to analyst firm Forrester, which predicts 18 percent of tablet sales to come from businesses.
Enterprise tablets will make up around 12 percent of the 186 million tablets that Forrester expects to be in use in 2013. However, business adoption for internal and customer-facing purposes will drive tablets to become 18 percent all tablets in use by 2017, according to the company's latest global business and consumer tablet forecast update.
Forrester forecasts tablet sales will rise from 122 million in 2012 to 381 million a year by 2017, suggesting tablet sales in the enterprise of 68 million a year.
The rise in enterprise tablet buying could be good news for Microsoft Windows if Forrester's recent surveys come to pass.
Microsoft's Surface RT and Pro tablets have not swept up enterprise customers as quickly as Microsoft hoped, but Forrester has a positive outlook for the broader category of Windows 8 tablets, pointing to its own survey in 2012 that found 20 percent of information workers would prefer Windows 8 on their next tablet.
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However, Forrester's telecoms and mobility workforce survey of 600 workers earlier this year showed that more people used Amazon's Kindle Fire as their primary work tablet than a Windows slate: nine percent reported using an Amazon Kindle Fire as their primary work tablet. Meanwhile, a Windows 7 tablet was used by 5 percent, Windows 8 Pro was used by two percent, and Window RT was used by one percent.
Apple dominated with 52 percent of respondents using an iPad as their primary work tablet, while 25 percent used an Android device. Four percent reported using a BlackBerry PlayBook.
Forrester also forecasts that the total installed base of tablets will reach 905 million by 2017, rising from 327 million tablets this year, to 654 million by 2015 and 795 million by 2016. By 2017, one in eight people in the world will own a tablet.
Tablets will be distributed unevenly, Forrester notes, with 60 percent of online consumers in North America and 42 percent in Europe forecast to own a tablet by 2017. Penetration rates in developing economies will not reach 25 percent in aggregate by then.
Despite some estimates that the cumulative share of Android tablets have already surpassed Apple's iPad, Forrester believes Apple's iOS to "maintain a lead, albeit at a diminished plurality of market share" due to its healthy ecosystem of apps.