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iPad mini to double 7in tablet market in 2012, 2013

Posted: 25 Oct 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:7in tablet market? iPad? Windows RT? Windows 8?

According to the latest data from IHS, the arrival of the smaller iPad will drive the market for 7in tablets to nearly double in 2012 and 2013. Global sales of 7in tablets are expected to rise by about 100 per cent this year to 34 million units, up from 17 million in 2011. Sales will nearly double again in 2013, rising 96 per cent to 67 million, added the market research firm.

"Just as Apple has dominated the market for 9.7in tablets with its iPad, iPad 2 and new iPad models, the company is poised to rule the market for products, driving rapid growth of the segment in 2012 and 2013," said Rhoda Alexander, director, tablet and monitor research for IHS. "The battle in the 7in space is highly spirited, with most of the other leading vendors already offering price-competitive products in this size range. IHS predicts Apple will successfully position the smaller iPad as a device that will be attractive and easy to adopt for both new and returning customers. This will spur rapid sales growth and provide tough competition for other companies contending in this size range."

Figure: Worldwide Tablet Sales Forecast by Size (In Thousands of Units)
Source: IHS Research, October 2012.

The 7in size range will account for 28 per cent of all tablets this year, up from 24 per cent in 2011. In 2013, the share will rise to 33 per cent. IHS iSuppli regards its 2013 forecast for tablet sales as conservative, with some factors potentially boosting the market to higher levels for the year.

"IHS expects the product to be particularly popular in Asia, where interest in a smaller version of the iPad has been strong," Alexander added. "If Apple has sufficient supply to meet demand in Asia following product launch, then the 2013 sales could be off the charts."

Apple tablet competitors that are using the Android OS until now have gravitated to the size as a way to find a competitive niche compared to the bigger 9.7in iPad. With the anticipated arrival of the smaller iPad, these companies are increasingly looking at the and larger categories as they seek to find new avenues of differentiation compared to Apple.

By contrast, new tablets based on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows RT and Windows 8 OS are likely to focus on products with 10in-and-larger displays, although there may be some offerings with displays as small as

Adam Leach, principal analyst at research firm Ovum, provides a similar take on Apple�s significant shift in strategy. Leach says that this launch marks the first time Apple released a product in response to market pressure from its competitors Google and Amazon. (See Is Apple playing catch-up with iPad Mini?)

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