The Tablet Market’s Growth Seems Limitless
That’s because more people are seeing a value in the not-quite-smartphone, not-quite-laptop devices. And, at the same time, new brands are being marketed with various screen sizes and price points, appealing to users with different interests.
Publishers, television stations, and others are beginning to understand how to leverage the form, too. New products and tablet-optimized experiences are creating an audience of content consumers that didn’t exist before.
According to comScore’s Digital Omnivore report, it took 7 years to sell 20 million smartphones. It took only 20 months to sell 20 million tablets.
The same company has predicted that in 2012, more than 100 million tablets will be sold. Gartner announced earlier this year that they’ve increased their previous prediction for tablets sold in 2012 to almost 119 million.
“The growth in this market is unprecedented,” Dmitriy Molchanov, a Yankee Group analyst, told Business Wire in 2011. “The tablet sales curve is rising faster than that of HDTVs, handheld gaming consoles, or even MP3 players.”
Part of the reason for the rapid growth is that tablets provide a convenient means for users to connect and engage frequently in online activities such as social networking and online gaming.
Additionally, the Kindle Fire and the NOOK tablet, which were both released in 2011, marked critical turning points in the mass adoption of tablets devices because their lower prices made them available for those who couldn’t afford Apple products. In 2012, Android devices will flood the market for consumers with lower price-points, too.
Apple, however, will still dominate the market – at least for now. Thanks to the brand’s loyal followers, the iPad3 release has been one of the most talked-about product releases of 2012. In the United States alone, 3 million iPads were sold during the first weekend of availability.
The tablet market’s growth won’t be limited to the United States. Instead, many of the early adapters are from overseas. The demand for tablets is higher in the international market, especially in countries like the UK, Germany, France, Japan, and China.
The computer market won’t feel too sharp of a drop off immediately, but over time, there will be a noticeable effect. Young people may choose tablets over personal computers, especially those concerned about durability because tablets are seen as more portable. Experiments in form factor – like detachable keyboards, screen size and pen/stylus solutions could increase use among younger demographics, too. Older customers may hold out without replacing their personal computers until absolutely necessary.
The tablet industry’s growth has led Cisco to predict that mobile-connected tablets will generate almost as much traffic in 2016 as the entire global mobile network did in 2012. The amount of mobile data generated by tablets in 2016 will be approximately equal to the total amount of global mobile data traffic in 2012. The number of WiFi connections should increase at the same or a slightly faster rate. In December 2011, WiFi connections drove 40.3% of mobile internet connections and 92.3% of tablet Internet connections in the US.
To accommodate the demand, mobile broadband plans are starting to cater to heavy tablet users. However, only 8% of tablet traffic currently comes via mobile broadband. As tablets continue on their upward climb in 2012, it’s likely that mobile broadband traffic seen over tablets will rapidly increase and may eventually reach levels consummate with mobile phones.
At Onswipe, we’re dedicated to making sure that both publishers and advertisers are ready to meet this demand. Let us help you build your tablet products.
Photo Credit: 5 Top-Rated Tablet PCs by sidduz, on Flickr