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April 24, 2012updated 23 Aug 2016 2:54pm

Tablets: 760 million worldwide by 2016, one third in enterprise

Tablets will continue to disrupt the computing market with some 375m tablets predicted to sell worldwide in 2016, alongside 760m in use globally.

By Allan Swann

A third of these will be for business purposes, according to Forrester Research’s report ‘Tablets Will Rule The Future Personal Computing Landscape.’

This target remains well below the 2 billion PCs that will continue to be in the market in 2016.

Forrester expects that the tablet market overall will grow strongly through the next five years, rising from 56 million sold in 2011 to 375 million in 2016, a 46% compound annual growth rate.

Tablet usage to 2016

By comparison, Gartner is forecasting tablet sales to reach 118.9m units in 2012, a 98% increase on 2011’s 60 million units. Gartner believes that Apple will continue to hold 62% marketshare.

Interestingly, Forrester believes that tablets will be recycled amongst users, who pass on their existing tablets when they upgrade rather than scrapping them (as is more common with PCs). This will produce a product life cycle of around three years.

Forrester agrees that tablet usage is already broad and continuing to accelerate. Already its research shows that 9% of US adults over the age of 18 own an iPad. 24% of global information workers reporting using tablets for work, including 44% of executives and 30% of salespeople. 27% of North American and European companies already support iPad usage amongst their employees.

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Emerging markets will similarly drive growth. Without the intermediary DSL infrastructure, many developing market users will be skipping the PC generation and their first experience of digital will be through tablets and smartphones running on wireless networks.

Forrester believes that emerging markets will account for 40% of tablets sold in 2016. Even in 2011, 17% of metropolitan Chinese online adults 18 and older reported owning a tablet, versus 11% of US online adults.

This is also being felt in developed markets. In the US, 30% of Gen Y tablet owners report purchasing their tablet to replace a PC, whereas only 20% of Baby Boomer tablet-owners report doing so.

Forrester is now predicting that mobile devices will surpass PCs to become the majority of devices used for work by 2016, and Microsoft’s share of the overall device OS market will fall below 50%.

Apple is also growing market share in the workplace, with 8% of workplaces using Mac’s alone. Apple has established a significant presence in the workplace and is increasingly being considered a viable alternative to Microsoft.

Interestingly, Forrester also believes that Cloud services will become dominant to the point of usurping the users choice of device. By 2016 individuals will first choose a core personal cloud service and then the compatible devices.

Again, Apple’s iCloud will be favoured as a tie-in to the company’s products – similar to how Amazon’s Cloud Drive is only available as an app to Android users (it remains available as a webpage to iOS users).

Forrester is also not a fan of Android, predicting a net decline in the tablet market from 2015 – despite smartphones remaining strong. This is because of a fragmented market and little standardisation. Amazon and others’ proprietary Android-based will surpass ‘true’ Android ecosystem sales in 2014. Other OEM manufacturers will mostly turn to Windows 8, but low cost budget Android tablet producers such as Samsung will continue to focus on developing nations.

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