Global tablet sales are set to almost double to 118.9 million units by the end of this year, according to new research.
A report by Gartner claimed sales will rocket from the 2011 sales of 60 million. Apple will continue its domination of the space, accounting for 61.4% of total sales by the end of this year. The report claimed Apple will maintain its dominance over the next few years, holding a 45.9% share by 2016. Gartner research VP Carolina Milanesi said: 'Despite PC vendors and phone manufacturers wanting a piece of the pie and launching themselves into the media tablet market, so far, we have seen very limited success outside of Apple with its iPad.'
Proportionally, Microsoft's tablets are planned to grow from 4.1% of the market this year to 11.8% by the end of 2016. Milanesi said: 'IT departments will see Windows 8 as the opportunity to deploy tablets on an OS that is familiar to them and with devices offered by many enterprise-class suppliers. This means that we see Windows 8 as a strong IT-supplied offering more so than an OS with a strong consumer appeal.'
Analysts said sales of tablets to b2b customers will account for around 35% of the market by the end of 2015. However, the report noted tablets would follow the trend of smartphones, with businesses allowing employees to bring their own device. Milanesi said: 'This poses a threat to vendors that thought about focusing on the enterprise market who will now have to appeal to consumers as well. This is exactly the same trend that vendors such as RIM had to face in the smartphone market.'
Android tablets' share is expected to grow from 31.9% to 37.2% between 2012 and 2016. Gartner said the main issue with Android tablets had been a lack of dedicated apps for the devices.
Editor: Graeme Neill