Market research firm IDC has raised its 2012 and 2013 forecasts for tablet shipments due to what it calls a “strong competitive landscape.”
The new forecast sees the worldwide tablet market at 122.3 million units, (up from the previous forecast of 117.1 million). The revised forecast for 2013 put the total number of tablets shipped at 172.4 million units (up from 165.9 million units).
The growth doesn’t stop there either. Looking farther out, IDC now says it expects worldwide tablet shipments to reach 282.7 million units; its previous estimate was 261.4 million.
Among the key products driving the higher growth are new Android-based models and the iPad mini.
"Android tablets are gaining traction in the market thanks to solid products from Google, Amazon, Samsung, and others,” said IDC research director for tablets Tom Mainelli. “And Apple's November iPad mini launch, along with its surprise refresh of the full-sized iPad, positions the company well for a strong holiday season."
(It should be noted that shipment estimates are shipments made by the manufacturers to its distributors and resellers, not the number of units sold to end users).
Android OS rising, Apple still in great shape
IDC also changed its forecast for tablet operating system share, reflecting changes in hardware shipments.
Now it expects Android's worldwide tablet share to increase from 39.8% in 2011 to 42.7% for the full year of 2012. Apple's share will slip from 56.3% in 2011 to 53.8% in 2012.
Longer term, IDC predicts Windows-based tablets (including Windows 8 and Windows RT) will grab share from both iOS and Android, growing from 1% of the market in 2011 to 2.9% in 2012, on its way to 10.2% by 2016.
"The breadth and depth of Android has taken full effect on the tablet market as it has for the smartphone space," said Ryan Reith, program manager for IDC's Mobile Device Trackers.
"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. At the same time, top-tier companies like Samsung, Lenovo, and ASUS are all launching Android tablets with comparable to premium products, but offered at much lower price points."