The overall demand for tablet computers is on the rise, and amongst most customers, the iPad’s lead over rival Android systems will increase over the next several years, according to a new International Data Corporation (IDC) study released on Thursday.
The IDC has increased its forecast for global tablet sales in 2012 from 106.1 million to 107.4 million, anticipating strong second-half sales of the devices, according to AFP reports. The firm also increased projected 2013 tablet sales from 137.4 million to 142.8 million, and predicted that worldwide shipments could top 222 million in four year’s time.
The outlook isn’t promising for everyone, through. According to Chloe Albanesius of PCMag.com, IDC forecasts that Apple iOS tablets (i.e. the iPad family of products) will increase their global market share from 58.2% in 2011 to 62.5% in 2012. Meanwhile, the Android tablet market share is expected to dip from 38.7% to 36.5%, while Research in Motion (RIM) tablets are anticipated to drop from 1.7% market share to just 1%, Albanesius added.
“Demand for media tablets remains robust, and we see an increasing interest in the category from the commercial side,” Tom Mainelli, IDC’s Mobile Connected Devices Research Director, said in a statement. “We expect pending new products from major players, increasingly affordable mainstream devices, and a huge marketing blitz from Microsoft around Windows 8 to drive increased consumer interest in the category through the end of the year.”
“After a very strong launch of new products in March, Apple’s iPad shows few signs of slowing down,” he added. “The addition of the Retina Display and 4G capabilities to the third-generation products clearly enticed many current owners to upgrade. And Apple’s decision to keep two iPad 2s in the market at lower prices—moving the entry-level price down to $399—seems to be paying off as well. If Apple launches a sub-$300, 7-inch product into the market later this year as rumored, we expect the company’s grip on this market to become even stronger.”
One area where Android is about to pull ahead of the iPad is amongst business clientele, according to ZDNet‘s Rachel King. Citing International Data Group (IDG) figures, King said that 44% of the 3,124 IT and business professionals polled said that they would purchase an Android tablet within the next year, compared to just 27% for Apple’s tablet computer.
Slashgear‘s Rue Liu pointed out that the current IDC forecast does not include Windows 8 tablets. Liu said that the firm will begin incorporating those devices into their tracking statistics beginning next quarter. Furthermore, the IDC lowered projected e-reader shipments from 28.2 million units to 28 million on the heels of “disappointing” first quarter sales figures attributed to the availability of lower priced tablets.