Second screen surge drives global tablet market past 32MN shipments in Q3 2012

Joseph O'Halloran | 06-12-2012

Even before the key holiday buying period, the tablet industry is enjoying a surge in sales, according to research by Futuresource Consulting.

Driven by launches such as the iPad 4 and iPad mini, as well as a welter of alternatives using the Android operating system, principally those from Samsung, the analyst calculates in its Tablet Market Update report that the total global tablet market exceeded 32 million shipments in Q3 2012, growing 75% year-on-year. It projects that this growth, fuelled by the huge trend towards using tablets such as second screens in TV Everywhere applications, will continue into the fourth quarter and that by the end of the year 137 million units will have been shipped. Looking further out, Futuresource forecasts that the tablet market will grow almost threefold over the next five years, reaching 352 million units shipped by 2016.

Among the factors driving uptake, affordability is seen as a key influencer, and the analyst notes that price drops in premium high-end products are making products widely available to a wider user base, with many consumers already in a position to upgrade. Futuresource makes particular note of the fact that the Samsung Galaxy Tab is being pushed by a reduced pricing strategy across Europe which has led to a lift in sales. "The average trade price per unit is currently down below $370, representing a 24% drop in price year-on-year. Despite this price erosion, the overall value of the tablet market will continue to climb, and prospects for the industry are extremely positive, with strong growth throughout the forecast period to 2016," explained Simon Bryant, head of consumer electronics, Futuresource Consulting.

Even though the US, as one would expect, currently leads tablet adoption with 43% of global ownership and is on track to achieve an installed base of nearly 90 million devices by the end of 2012, Futuresource observed a rise in sales across the globe. "We're seeing significant industry growth across all key world territories, with the majority of tablet market activity still originating from consumer purchases," Bryant added. "We've been monitoring the market in China for some time now, and its domestic white label tablets continue to exert an influence on global volumes."

Compared with the US and China, Europe has seen slower uptake, with Futuresource research showing that nearly 45 million devices will be in European homes by the end of 2012. In the UK, total tablet shipments continue to grow, with forecasts of 6.4 million units sold in 2012, up from 3.8 million in 2011. Tablet growth in Brazil, Russia and India, growth is running at levels more than double the US and Western Europe, though from a far smaller installed base, Futuresource noted.