By Alexandra Burlacu | Sep 24, 2012 09:55 AM EDT
Market research firm International Data Corp. (IDC) has raised its forecast for the worldwide tablet market in 2012, as well as for the next years, based on continued consumer demand and strong expectations for the fourth quarter. IDC now forecasts that Apple will continue to dominate the tablet market until at least 2016, while Microsoft's Windows for tablets will surge faster than expected.
"Despite ongoing economic concerns in most regions of the world, consumers continue to buy tablets in record numbers and we expect particularly strong demand in the fourth quarter," said Tom Mainelli, IDC's research director of mobile connected devices.
The research firm has now raised its forecast and expects companies to supply 117.1 million tablets. IDC had previously forecast 107.4 million units for the year. In tis latest update, the firm also upped its 2013 forecast number from 142.8 million units to 165.9 million units, while worldwide shipments of slate-type PCs should reach 261.4 million units by 2016. Moreover, IDC has also revised some of its general trends. Google's Android, for instance, is no longer projected to surpass iOS on the media tablet market.
"Apple leads the market with its iPad, and we expect its dominance to continue in the second half of the year," explained Mainelli. "Still, we believe there is room in the market for others to find success, and new Android- and Windows-based products shipping in the coming months will give consumers plenty of buying options during the holiday season."
IDC has not only increased the unit totals for the year, but has also updates its numbers to include Windows-based tablets. According to the firm, Windows tablets, including the Windows 7 tablets shipping today, and Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets shipping later this year, are expected to surge from roughly one percent of the market in 2011 to four percent in 2012, all the way to 11 percent by 2016. Meanwhile, iOS will grow from 57.2 percent in 2011 to 60 percent in 2012, then drop slightly back to 58 percent by 2016. Android will also slip from 38.9 percent to 35.5 percent, then drop to 30.5 percent by 2016.
"Tablets running Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 and RT operating systems, including the company's own Surface tablets, will add some momentum. However, we expect shipments to remain low in the fourth quarter as high prices and consumer confusion around these devices will limit their appeal," noted Jennifer Song, research analyst for IDC's worldwide trackers. "Also, in the second half of the year Android should benefit from the success of the Nexus 7 and Amazon's launch of new Kindle Fires."
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