Desktop and laptop sales are already beginning to dip as consumers move toward mobile. And the bridge device – the tablet – is expected to continue gaining popularity. Last year, Forrester predicted that annual tablet sales would reach 381.23 million by 2017. NPD DisplaySearch, a market research firm, thinks that’s a low estimate. NPD is now predicting that tablet sales will surpass 450 million a year by 2017.
While more tablets are expected to reach users, NPD’s predictions don’t indicate much of a hit to traditional PC sales. It seems that, overall, tablets will become yet another device that users have in addition to their computers and smartphones. Most analyst and research firms agree that as tablets continue to rise, so will the number of tablet options.
According to NPD senior analyst Richard Shim, “momentum for the tablet PC market is in full swing as they have become the dominant mobile PC form factor. Competition is expected to increase as traditional notebook PC brands, including Lenovo, HP, and Dell update their product portfolios to emphasize tablet PCs.”
While the iPad has long remained the dominate player in the tablet world (it currently accounts for 20% of all tablet sales), a new mega group of buyers might dethrone it. The main driver behind the rise in tablet adoption could be emerging markets – which tend to favor Android when it comes to mobile.
Much of the growth is expected to be driven by emerging markets, which NPD predicts will account for more than 60 percent of mobile PC shipments by 2017. Those regions overwhelmingly prefer the tablet form factor already — traditional notebooks book just 30 percent of sales, with tablets taking the remainder.
Tablets are sure to be a major player in the mobile app ecosystem in the coming years, but just how many you need to test on, their sizes and where they’re popular remains to be seen. A good tester will keep an eye on these trends as they unfold so you can stay ahead of the curve and always offer the most in-demand testing services.