Gartner: worldwide tablet sales forecast to pass 208 million units by 2014
Notwithstanding yesterday's news about disappointing iPad sales in Apple's fiscal fourth quarter, the outlook for overall tablet sales is bright. Driven by the iPad, tablet shipments are expected to surpass 208 million units by 2014, according to Gartner. The Gartner report comes on the heels of one done by Market research firm iSuppli Corp, which projects that Apple's iPad will account for about three-quarters of global tablet shipments in 2010.
Selling 4.19 million iPads, as Apple did in the quarter ended Sept. 30, for a total of 7.5 million to date, is nothing to sneeze at. And the iPad's success, we cannot fail to note, has been good for publishers. How good? The first edition of Wired's iPad app sold over 100,000 copies. The Wall Street Journal's iPad app has more than 64,000 users and brought in revenues of $2.4 million by early summer. Time magazine signed Toyota, Fidelity Investments, and several other companies for a single display ad in the first eight issues of Time's iPad edition for $200,000 a piece. The Financial Times' iPad app counts for 10% of its new digital subscriptions. Those are only a few examples of publishers that have found new revenue streams through Apple's iPad.
Gartner's report predicts that as tablet prices come down they may cannibalize consumer electronics devices like the mini notebook or netbook. Further, Caroline Milanesi, a senior vice president on Gartner's Mobile Devices team, writes:
"We believe that mobile operators will shift their marketing and subsidy from netbooks to media tablets in an attempt to sell more mobile broadband subscriptions. While we expect 7 inch tablets to be popular in the short term due to the limitations of Android and because they are closer to smartphones we expect that in the long run 10 inch tablets will be more successful as they offer a superior experience."
Apple's CEO agrees. On Apple's conference call yesterday, Steve Jobs had some warning -- trash talk -- for the competition, to wit: the 7-inch tablet experience will be too small to compete. Screen size matters.
The Gartner report predicts that as median tablet prices drop over the next two years, sales are projected to total 54.8 million units in 2011, up 181 percent from 2010. Also according to the report, North America sales will account for 61 percent of tablet sales, but as more market availability increases worldwide that number will drop to 43 percent by 2014. And as media tablet sales increase globally, moving away from those hale and hearty 7.5 million early adopters to mainstream and family purchases worldwide, the potential subscriber base for newspaper and magazine apps increases dramatically. And that, as Martha Stewart might say, is a good thing.