Demand For 7-inch Tablets On The Upswing, Reveals Report

By Anu Passary | Sep 19, 2012 10:06 AM EDT

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With form factor becoming an increasingly important element in consumer choice, it seems that 7-inch tablets are gearing up to establish a market stronghold. A new report from IHS iSuppli reveals that annual tablet shipments for 2012 will grow by 56 percent, courtesy of 7-inch tablet sales.

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The total shipments are estimated to reach 126.6 million units, up from 82.1 million in 2011, with bigger tablets, like Apple's iPad, propelling a substantial chunk of these shipments.

"While the 9-inch segment dominated by the iPad will account for the majority of tablet display shipments this year, the fastest-growing portion of the market will the 7.x-inch screens used in products like the Galaxy Tab from Samsung Electronics, the Kindle Fire from Amazon, the Nook Tablet from Barnes & Noble, and other tablet products using the Google Android operating system," said Vinita Jakhanwal, director for Small & Medium Displays at IHS iSuppli.

The IHS report also noted that remainder of the tablet display market in 2012 would be split between "the 8.x-inch size, with approximately 9 percent share; and the 5.x-inch, with less than 1 percent share."

The 7-inch tablet market is growing at a rapid pace with shipments expected to jump from 20.8 million units to 40.1 million in 2012. With the 7-inch tablets forecasted to account for nearly 32 percent of the market, the second-largest segment, the future of the smaller tablets looks promising and augurs well for Apple's purported iPad Mini launch in October. 

The reports also noted that the major players in the manufacturing side were LG Display and Samsung, who accounted for 42 percent and 38 percent of the market share, respectively. Moreover, even though new players are poised to tap into the panel supply arena, Samsung and LG are likely to hold on to their lead as both companies supply key components to Apple.

Apple's iPad, continues its reign as the numero uno tablet "with a commanding 58 percent of all tablets shipped in the first quarter."

"Media tablets increasingly are becoming the biggest growth driver in the market for the small and medium display market," noted Jakhanwal. 

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