According to Taiwan's MIC (Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute), an ICT industry research institute based in Taipei, Apple iPad's share of the worldwide tablet market arrived at 62.2% while Android-based tablets' share reached 37.3% in the first half of 2012. During the period, the industry's shipment volume was mainly bolstered by Apple and white-box vendors. Overall, the tablet market competition was increasingly intensified.
In the second half of 2012, Google launched a low-priced tablet, dubbed Nexus 7, while Amazon and Barnes & Noble - the two giant e-book vendors in North America - rolled out next-generation tablets in anticipation of strong seasonal demand during the Christmas holiday. With more low-priced products with high specifications expected to hit the market, it is anticipated that the competition in the small-sized tablet segment will become fiercer. Aside from branded vendors, which have low-price tablets available in the marketplace, Chinese white-box vendors also are able to develop low-priced tablets, which have an over US$100 price gap with branded vendors' products, thanks to Chinese local vendors' capabilities to rapidly supply key components. Thus, they have successfully created the new demand in China and emerging markets. The full-year shipment volume of the worldwide tablet industry in 2012 is anticipated to have reached around 122.6 million units, up 67.1% year on year compared to 2011.
With the launch of Apple's mini iPad, Google's Nexus 7, and Microsoft's Windows 8/RT-based tablets, the tablet market competition has become keen in 2012. Moreover, Chinese white-box vendors were able to stimulate market demand with ultra-low pricing strategies, taking up 13.9% of the Chinese tablet market. On the other hand, Android tablet branded vendors collectively accounted for 23.4% of the market. However, with branded vendors continuously offering tablets priced at lower than US$199, white-box vendors' share in the Chinese market is expected to be affected. In the future, it is anticipated that the effect of differentiation strategy based on low price will become less pronounced, indicating that white-box vendors will face greater challenges.
Following the announcements made separately by three OS (Operating System) developers Apple, Google, and Microsoft regarding the rollouts of their own OS for mobile computing devices in 2012, MIC predicted that the tablet industry will be highly concentrated and dominated by these three OS giants. With the increasing number of low-priced tablets that feature high specs and small screen size, barriers to purchase a tablet will be reduced, thereby helping the tablet market expand faster. In particular, as Microsoft pre-installed a lite version of Windows 8, known as Windows RT, into tablets, tablets will be developed catering to the needs of users in entertainment and business sectors. With a surging demand for tablets, the strong growth momentum in the tablet market is expected to continue into 2013. It is, therefore, projected that the worldwide tablet industry's shipment volume will reach around 170 million units in 2013 and top over 200 million units in 2015.
More information can be found in the following MIC report:
Global Tablet and Application Processor Development Trends, 2012 and Beyond
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Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC), based in Taipei, Taiwan, was founded in 1987. MIC is Taiwan's premier IT industry research and consulting firm providing intelligence, in-depth analysis, and strategic consulting services on global IT product and technology trends, focusing on markets and industries in Asia-Pacific. MIC is part of the Institute for Information Industry. https://mic.iii.org.tw/english