Tablets to hit 117.1 million units in 2012, 165.9 million in 2013

Apple's iPad will remain the top tablet through 2016, but Windows devices will take some share---mostly from Android, says IDC.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

A strong fourth quarter for the tablet market will translate into 117.1 million units for 2012, according to IDC. That projection was raised from IDC's previous forecast of 107.4 million.

And in 2013, the tablet market is expected to hit 165.9 million units, up from IDC's previous forecast of 142.8 million.

The increased projections highlight the post-PC era, which has cast doubt on the strength of a Windows 8 upgrade cycle as well as resulted in third quarter warnings from the likes of Intel and AMD.

IDC also said that the tablet market will hit 261.4 million units in 2016.

The driver of these tablet sales remains Apple's iPad, but IDC projected that new Android and Windows 8 tablets will carve out niches. Among the notable points:

  • IDC expects Windows tablets---Windows 7 slates today, Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets---to grow from 1 percent of the market in 2011 to 4 percent in 2012. By 2016, Windows tablets will have 11 percent of the market.
  • iOS tablets will have market share of 60 percent in 2012, but slip to 11 percent in 2016.
  • Android tablets will have market share 35.3 percent of the market in 2012 and fall to 30.5 percent by 2016.
  • Tablet strength is likely to come at the expense of e-readers. IDC lowered its e-reader forecast to 23.6 million units in 2012, down from 27.7 million units in 2011.
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