A surge in the availability of smaller, lower-priced devices in the tablet market has led International Data Corporation (IDC) — a market research, analysis and advisory firm specialising in information technology, telecommunications and consumer electronics — to increase its 2013 forecast for the worldwide tablet market to 190.9 million, up from its previous forecast of 172.4 million units.
Increases in tablet shipments have been made throughout the forecast period with an average increase of 11 per cent between 2013 and 2016, it said, adding that the latest forecast update of the Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker estimates tablet shipments to be upwards of 350 million by the end of 2017.
Android-based tablets expanded their market share notably in 2012, and IDC expects that trend to continue in 2013. Android's market share is forecast to reach a peak of 48.8 per cent in 2013, as compared to 41.5 per cent in IDC's previous forecast. Android's gains come at the expense of Apple's iOS, which is expected to slip from 51 per cent of market share in 2012 to 46 per cent in 2013.
In the longer term, both iOS and Android will eventually relinquish some market share to Windows-based tablets, with Windows 8 predicted to grow from one per cent of the market in 2012 to 7.4 per cent in 2013.
IDC expects Windows RT growth to remain below three per cent during the forecast period.
While IDC continues to revise its tablet forecast upward, the firm has done the opposite with the eReader forecast. The growth of low-cost tablets is damaging the prospects of the single-use eReader, and IDC reduced its forecast for the category by an average of 14 per cent between 2013 and 2016.It believes eReader shipments peaked in 2011 at 26.4 million units. After declining to 18.2 million units in 2012, the category is expected to grow only modestly in 2013 and 2014, before it begins a gradual and permanent decline beginning in 2015.