Tablet sales said to surge fivefold in five years
The driving force? Lower prices, natch
According to the consumer-focused researchers at NPD, worldwide tablet sales will increase more than fivefold over the next five years.
According to the latest NPD DisplaySearch Tablet Quarterly report, sales of tablets will surge from 72.7 million in 2011 to 383.3 million in 2017.
Last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook crowed that "Last year was supposed to be the year of the tablet. I think most people would agree that it was the year of the iPad."
But NPD doesn't see tablet sales growth being driven solely by Apple's market-leading fondleslab. On the contrary, the researchers foresee growth coming from "the introduction of tablets from new brands, such as Aakash in India, and established brands, such as Dell in China."
While The Reg may quibble with what percentage of those 383.3 million tablets Dell may eventually snare, we concur with NPD that growth in the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India, and China – will be strong if and when tablet prices dip.
NPD foresees worldwide tablet-sales growth to be balanced between emerging and mature markets
"Growth in the emerging markets will be accompanied by competition at lower price points," says NPD strategist Jim McGregor. "This will result in significant opportunities for processors that can optimize power and performance while achieving device price points that are often under $100."
That $35 Aakash tablet, for example, will cost around $50 once you add in documentation, packaging, shipping, and the like – a far cry from the $499-to-$829 premium for the "magical and revolutionary" iPad.
NPD also cites low-cost tablets being distributed through government-sponsored educational efforts such as Turkey's FATIH Project, which aims to distribute free, Turkish-made tablets to 15 million students by 2015.
Whether NPD's near-400-million tablet estimate is correct, it's interesting to put that number in some context. Although the final numbers for last year's global PC sales aren't yet in, back in September Gartner analysts projected that 364 million PCs would be sold worlwide during 2011, and IDC forecast a similar number, 356.9 million.
iPad-maker Tim Cook wouldn't be the man to argue with NPD's figures. When discussing Apple's most-recent financial results last week, he said, "I clearly believe, and many others in the company believe, that there will come a day when the tablet market, in units, is larger than the PC market."
If that day arrives by 2017 – or earlier, considering PC-sales cannibalization by fondleslabs – it will almost certainly be ushered in by tablets that are far less expensive than Cook's offering. ®
Do these market researchers ever tell us anything useful?
Seriously, this is simply projecting the current tablet sales trend out for the next five years. I'm sure if back in 2006 you looked at these guys' projections for smartphone sales in 2007-2011 they'd have projected out the trend from the previous five years. And totally missed the rise of iPhone and Android, and the cannibalization of feature phone sales.
Any idiot can draw a trend line on graph paper and project it out to the future. A research firm that would actually be worthing paying for would have told you of the smartphone growth in 2006, or the tablet growth in 2009. Instead they were probably making projections how every businessman would have a Blackberry within five years because they had the corporate smartphone market sewn up!
You watch, if Apple announces the rumored "smart" TV and shows everyone else what they should be doing, instead of the pathetic attempts up until now (sort of like the previous decade of tablet efforts until Apple came along) these analysts will be all over themselves with projections of the trendline. But not until its been on the market for at least a year, and the first "Apple TV killer" products have been announced to great fanfare. After all, when you are merely extrapolating a trendline you must have a few data points for the trendline you're extrapolating from.
Just don't expect them to tell you know what will happen in that market today, those idiots probably still think 3D TVs are going to be major growth and account for 50% of TV sales in 2015. Maybe it will, but only if the 3D feature comes for free....I wouldn't pay an extra dollar, let alone a euro or pound, for something so useless.
"hopefully soon to be supplanted by 'working' voice recognition"
Please God no. It will be unbearable. It is bad enough having to navigate the bozos in the street with the bluetooth headsets who startlingly bellow something into it as they walk past you, or the interminable re-iteration at escalating loudness of "I am on the train" into some dodgy mobile. I can't begin to imagine what it would be like with people all trying to talk to their tablets as well. Arrggggghhh!!!
Thats it Kids...
Listen to the market researchers & KEEP BUYING STUFF!!!