Global 2011 Tablet shipments nearly 73m

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DisplaySearch  (an NPD Group company) in their latest Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report estimate that Tablet shipments were 72.7m last year and foresee this growing to 383.3m by 2017. That’s an annual compound growth rate of just under 33%.

With a little bit of interpretation by ourselves, and taking account of, in particular, IDC   & iSuppli’s actual & forecast shipments by quarter as well as amazons “we’ve shipped millions”  press release we think that 4th quarter shipments might total 28m or so (4.5m by amazon and Apple at say 16.5m) giving a years figure a couple of million less than this forecast.

Some Wall Street analysts are revising down views of Apples Q4 performance. For instance  Morgan Keegan analyst Tavis McCourt said earlier this week “We expect iPad revenues to generate 21.3% of revenues in the Dec. quarter for Apple, up from 17.2% in the year ago period although down from 24.3% in the previous quarter. We are lowering our unit shipment estimates for iPad in the Dec. quarter from 16 million to 13 million. Based on data from Amazon, we believe the Amazon Fire likely sold 4-5 million units this holiday season, which probably means maybe 1-2 million cannibalized iPad sales at most”. He also trimmed his 2012 iPad shipments projection to 49 million units, from 54.

We think both these views are  on the low side as they really imply no iPad sales growth between Q3 & Q4 last year and a growth rate of only some 11% in 2012.

Looking at this year we are staying with our 150m+ forecast and looking forward to the battle between, in particular, Apple & amazon. There really are two very differing approaches to product offerings, with Apple having (comparatively) high priced hardware and hence  margins as opposed to amazon likely earning virtually all their margin from content revenues.

As an aside a UK tabloid, rather unkindly we thought, maligned the kindle fire by saying “It feels like a Soviet version of Apple’s tablet”!

The only 2012 forecast of kindle fire units we’ve seen was from IDC & is, we feel, a bit out of date at 16m units. With some 16% of the market in Q4 from a standing start midway through the quarter we think well over 25 million units could be shipped this year particularly with an early release in the UK!

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