Big Tablet Sales Push Video, App Downloads

Samsung-Galaxy-TabletWorldwide global tablet sales will reach 232 million units in 2016, up from 64 million units in 2011, per a new report.

The Tablet Technology and Markets report from Futuresource Consulting estimates a 200% increase for consumer use across the United States and Western Europe during the next two years. Consumers bought about 52 million tablets in 2011 across the two regions, and the market continues on track to exceed 153 million units in 2013 -- the majority being sold into the United States.

Tablet sales will rise, but what about use? U.S. consumers using a tablet at least once monthly will reach 75.6 million in 2013 -- up from 13 million in 2010, according to eMarketer. The research firm estimates iPad users will account for 53.9 million in 2013, up from 11.5 million in 2010.



While Apple appears to maintain the dominance since the iPad launch, Android-powered devices from Samsung, Amazon and Asus continue to gain traction and increase in popularity. Apple released earnings on Wednesday, nearly doubling profit on iPhone and iPad sales. Profits, overall, rose 94% for the fiscal second quarter, compared with the year-ago quarter.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said iPad sales exceeded 12 million in the March quarter.

Futuresource believes tablets have cannibalized the demand for netbooks, but consumers still see the device as an addition to conventional PCs or Macs, rather than a replacement. Consumer sales dominated the overall market in 2011, accounting for more than 90% of tablet shipments.

Consumers have also begun to download more apps on tablets. Tablets accounted for 10% of total mobile app downloads in 2011. Development and availability of apps across multiple platforms are expected to double in 2016. Tablet owners are also more likely to pay for apps -- especially in the U.S., according to a "Living with Digital" report from Futuresource.

Tablets are unlikely to displace large-screen TV sets, but Futuresource estimated the hardware will drive the growth of full-length online video downloads, with key applications allowing content to be played out from one screen to another, providing higher-quality mobile viewing.

Tablets will also contribute to the rise in ebooks. Annual trade for digital book sales is forecast to achieve significant growth, with digital downloads in the U.S. expected to account for almost 70% of book sales by 2016 -- a substantial rise from 20% in 2011. Similar progression is expected in the U.K., with digital sales reaching almost 40% share.

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