The consumer tablet market hit a global high of 15.5 million units shipped in Q3 2011 climbing from 4.5 million in Q3 2010, according to the Tablet Tracking report from Futuresource Consulting.
The USA leads the way in tablet adoption accounting for 46 per cent of global ownership, and exceeding an installed base of 24 million devices at the end of Q3. Europe has seen a slower uptake at just 4.2 million shipments in Q3 compared to 7.1 million in the US, however this still represents over 300 per cent growth year-on-year.
In terms of brand positioning, Apple continues to dominate the global market. This is certainly true in the US where it accounts for over 70 per cent of unit shipments, though Samsung, HP and Acer are beginning to gain some traction. Europe is more fragmented with Apple still on top but with other brands shining through, although the competitive landscape varies country by country.
Looking to the immediate future, the emergence of major sporting events in 2012 is expected to fuel a rise in the uptake of tablets as consumers demand connection while away from home to view TV content or keep on track of results. The associated size and features of the tablet mean that consumers can enjoy a higher quality viewing experience in comparison to that of a smartphone.
Long-term prospects for the tablet industry are positive with strong growth throughout the forecast period out to 2015, driven by a widening array of mobile content for tablets including apps, declining prices making the product widely available to an increased user-base and product replacement as consumers look to update and modernise. Multiple ownership per household will also drive market growth as advances are made in the range of uses and applications available.