According to a new study by NDP Group, the tablet market is set to dominate the tech industry over the next five years. As the overall market grows, Apple’s iPad is predicted to lose steam and, while still maintaining its lead over other tablets, will drop to only 50 percent by 2017. At the rate things are growing, I can believe that.
NDP Group’s Tablet Quarterly report predicts that tablet sales will grow from 81.6 million units in 2011 to 424.9 million units by 2017. Contributing to the upswing in sales is the increasing diversity in tablet operating systems, as well as new features being added to entice new buyers.
“So far in this relatively young product category, the tablet PC market has been dominated by Apple and has tended to include a number of competing products that are similarly configured to the iPad,” said Richard Shim, NPD DisplaySearch Senior Analyst. “However, as the market matures and competitors become better attuned to consumer preferences and find opportunities to break new ground, we expect the landscape to change dramatically, giving consumers more choices, which will drive demand for more devices.”
NDP Group predicts that, due to the success of Amazon’s low-cost Kindle Fire, other tech companies will follow suit to diversify the market even more. Additionally, potential investments in the supply chain will open up opportunities for new technologies to “challenging the incumbents.”
Much of the shift in popularity from the iPad to other tablets can be attributed to operating systems, the report says. “The iOS operating system has been dominant in tablet PCs, but it is expected to lose share, from 72.1% in 2012 to 50.9% in 2017, as Android increases from 22.5% 2012 to 40.5% over the same period. Meanwhile, share for Windows RT is also expected to grow, but from a very small base of 1.5% in 2012 to 7.5% in 2017.”
As the tablet market grows, it only makes sense that Apple’s iPad will lose its enormous lead over other devices. If the rest of the tech industry actually finds a way to contend with the iPad, we could see some innovative new features that will shift the market into a more competitive arena.