Analysts Forecast Apple iPad To Hold 50 Percent Of Market Through 2016
December 5, 2012

Analysts Forecast Apple iPad To Hold 50 Percent Of Market Through 2016

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Ever since the very first iPad went on sale, analysts and technology watchers have been wondering how long Apple will dominate the tablet market, a space they completely re-invented with their tablet PC.

The iPad went largely uncontested for it´s first 2 years on the market, with only feeble competition from Amazon, Android, and RIM. These competitors have upped their game in the latter half of 2012, offering tablets such as the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, Google´s own Galaxy Nexus 7 and 10, Microsoft Surface with Windows RT and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1.

Today, the International Data Corporation (IDC) has increased their earlier predictions about the worldwide tablet market, estimating that worldwide sales of all these tablets will reach past 117 million units by the end of 2012. IDC has also increased their 2013 tablet sales predictions from 165.9 million units to 172.4 million. The IDC expects the worldwide tablet market to keep growing, estimating a worldwide total of around 282 million units by 2016.

"Tablets continue to captivate consumers, and as the market shifts toward smaller, more mobile screen sizes and lower prices points, we expect demand to accelerate in the fourth quarter and beyond," explained Tom Mainelli, the research director for tablets at IDC.

"Android tablets are gaining traction in the market thanks to solid products from Google, Amazon, Samsung, and others. 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."

In today´s report, IDC now holds that Android will gain some global market share as a tablet OS, gaining some ground on the long time leader, Apple´s iOS.

As 2012 closes, IDC pegs Android to end with 42.7% of the market share, up from 39.8% in 2011. IDC expects Apple to lose a small percentage of market share, closing 2012 with the majority 53.8% of global marketshare. Apple closed 2011 with 56.3% of the global tablet marketshare.

However, while many have long considered the tablet market to be a 2-horse race, IDC is claiming both Android and iOS will have some of their market share stolen by Microsoft´s Windows.

In 2011, Windows-based tablets (Windows 8 and Windows RT) captured only 1% of the global market. According to the IDC, Windows will more than double this number in 2012, taking nearly 3% of the global market share by the time the year comes to an end.

IDC expects Windows to continue doing relatively well, predicting that more than 10% of all tablets sold worldwide will run a Windows-based operating system. If their estimation is correct, Apple will continue to hold a 10 point lead over Android in 2016: Apple with 49.7% to Android´s 39.7%.

In other words, Apple´s iPad looks to remain a dominant player in the tablet space for at least another 4 years. In June, the IDC had estimated Apple to close out the year with 62.5% of the worldwide market share, with Android falling from 36.5%.

Since this time, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Samsung have all released new tablets which are expected to sell relatively well.