Just about a year ago, there was virtually no market for tablet computers. There were rumors that Apple could launch a tablet, but a lot of pundits still dismissed the idea that consumers would actually want to buy such a device. Apple, of course, launched the iPad to a lot of hype in April 2010 and sold over 3 million within the first three month of sales alone. There is clearly a market for these devices out there, but for now, Apple is really the only player in this business.
According to Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps, this situation won’t change much in the next two years.
Forecast: 44 Million Tablet Sales by 2015
Forrester just revised its US consumer tablet forecast for 2010 up to 10.3 million units. Next year, the company’s analysts believe, tablet sales will more than double to 24.1 million units – though the company also thinks that the “lion’s share will be iPads, and despite many would-be competitors that will be released at CES, we see Apple commanding the vast majority of the tablet market through 2012.” Looking ahead, Forrester forecasts that 82 million U.S. consumers will be using tablets in 2015 – with yearly sales reaching 44 million.
Replacement Rates More like MP3 Players than PCs
Another interesting aspect of this forecast is that Forrester believes that the replacement rate for iPads will be similar to that of MP3 players and iPhones – meaning consumers will upgrade these devices more often than, for example, PCs. Indeed, Forrester expects that a lot of first-generation iPad owners will buy the iPad2 – which will surely be released later this year.