Worldwide tablet market shipments are expected to reach 261.4 million units by 2106, according to the research firm IDC.
The company revised its forecast for the worldwide tablet market to 117.1 million units, up from its previous forecast of 107.4 million units for 2012.
IDC research director of mobile connected devices, Tom Mainelli, said that despite ongoing economic concerns in most regions of the world, consumers continue to buy tablets in record numbers and strong demand is expected in the fourth quarter.
"Apple leads the market with its iPad, and we expect its dominance to continue in the second half of the year," Mainelli said. "Still, we believe there is room in the market for others to find success, and new Android- and Windows-based products shipping in the coming months will give consumers plenty of buying options during the holiday season."
Windows tablets including Windows 7 tablets, and Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets which will be shipped in the fourth quarter of 2012, are anticipated to grow from about 1% of the market in 2011 to 4% in 2012 and 11% by 2016.
IDC research analyst for Worldwide Trackers Jennifer Song said that tablets running Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 and RT operating systems, including the company’s own Surface tablets, will add some momentum.
"However, we expect shipments to remain low in the fourth quarter as high prices and consumer confusion around these devices will limit their appeal," Song said. "Also, in the second half of the year Android should benefit from the success of the Nexus 7 and Amazon’s launch of new Kindle Fires."
iOS is projected to grow from 57.2% in 2011 to 60% in 2012 but will decrease to 58% by 2016 while Android is expected to decrease to 35.3% from 38.9%, and decline to 30.5% by 2016.
IDC lowered its forecast for eReaders in 2012 and expects 2012 shipments to be at 23.6 million units, down from the 27.7 million units that shipped in 2011.
Earlier ABI Research also predicted that worldwide media tablet shipments are expected to exceed 100 million units in 2012, with Apple iPad dominating the market.
Gartner also predicted that worldwide IT spending is due to pass $3.6 trillion in 2012, a 3% increase on last year.