According to new data from NPD, tablet PC shipments are expected to grow from 72.7 million units in 2011 to 383.3 million units by 2017. A distinction between “shipments” and “sales” is important because the former refers to the number of units manufacturers sell to distributors and retailers, not the actual sell through to consumers and businesses which will be some percentage smaller depending on how well the devices sell.
“The emerging market opportunity for tablets has been flying under the radar mainly because the device brands aren’t household names and there are concerns regarding the sustainability of the market,” said NPD href=”http://www.displaysearch.com/cps/rde/xchg/displaysearch/hs.xsl/index.asp” rel=”homepage” target=”_blank” title=”DisplaySearch”>DisplaySearch’s Senior Analyst Richard Shim. “However, we are beginning to see investments by some of the better known brands in developing regions, and we expect this to not only continue but to flourish as competition improves.”
The report says price is going to be a big factor in shipment growth going forward, particularly in emerging markets.
“Growth in the emerging markets will be accompanied by competition at lower price points,” says Jim McGregor, NPD In-Stat Chief Technology Strategist. “This will result in significant opportunities for processors that can optimize power and performance while achieving device price points that are often under $100.”
That sub-$100 price point has already been reached by startup Aakash in India which is making a sub-$50 Android tablet available to schools there. NPD also notes that established brands, such as href=”http://www.dell.com/” rel=”homepage” target=”_blank” title=”Dell”>Dell in China, is boosting competition and adoption.