With the tablet market more or less creating the second screen TV industry, expect this trend to proliferate even more as sales of the product skyrocket according to new research by Futuresource Consulting.
In all, the analyst calculates that global tablet sales reached 64 million units in the key pre-Christmas phase that was Q4 2012, representing a near doubling of the market with quarterly growth of nearly 100% and year-on-year growth of 119%.
Not surprisingly given the iron grip that the iPad has exerted on the market, the survey data showed that Apple remained the market leader with particularly high demand for the new 7-inch product even though Futuresource noted that limited supply capacity did result in some missed opportunities.
Yet the survey also confirmed the growing trend that in the tablet industry, it is very much the case these days that Apples are not the only fruit with cheaper Android tablets eroding its market share. Samsung in particular emerged as a real challenger with its range of new tablets in 2012, particularly the Galaxy Tab 2. Futuresource added that the launch of the Nexus 10 device in collaboration with Google may help to further eat into Apple’s dominance in sales of larger-screened tablets. Despite a heavy marketing campaign, the analyst said that Microsoft disappointed with “challenging” for its new flagship Surface tablet running Windows 8 RT. However it expects the upcoming release of the Surface Pro to turn this situation around.
The analyst saw Amazon benefit from an increasing demand for smaller tablets with the release of its Kindle Fire HD, with Asus and Google Nexus 7 also gaining in this segment.
Making a stab at what the future may hold, Futuresource said that even though heightened demand for smaller and cheaper-priced tablets will continue to impact average retail prices, the overall value of the tablet market will continue to climb and prospects for the industry are
“The Q4 period accounted for nearly half of all tablet sales last year, culminating in total sales of 136 million units for 2012,” commented Arun Gill, Market Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “This clearly demonstrates the impact that tablet devices are having on consumers’ spending habits and lifestyle choices, as the category continues to push through the roof.”