Smashing tablets

Strategy Analytics have just released their global tablet shipment figures for Q4 of 2011. They analyse them by operating systems rather than manufacturer. Their annual figures are 66.9 (18.6) million.

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Apple’s figures for the last quarter of 2011 are 15.434 (7.331) million BUT these are not strictly comparable as their quarter covered 14 weeks. Either Tim Cook or Peter Oppenheimer mentioned in their conference call on the results that by and large the extra 7 days this year from 25-31 December represented about a 1/14 of the quarters shipments. This we reckon approximates 1 million units.

Of the android units amazon’s Kindle Fire likely accounted for between 4 and 4.5 million units. The Kindle Fire started shipping in the US from mid November. Tim Cook indicated that he didn’t believe the Kindle Fire introduction had reduced iPad sales.

Now on to the biblical tablets!.

The Boston Consulting Group have just published their report The Tablet Market – Not carved in stone – Consumer trends and market segmentation. It can be read/downloaded in full on registration.

Following their global research (8,700 online consumer respondents in q4 of 2011 from the eight top markets worldwide  USA UK Germany France Italy Spain Japan & China) they think the market is “… still very much up for grabs.”

Usage patterns confirm other research ie replacing Netbooks Laptops & PCs and being used primarily at home for web access. Work usage would increase they have ascertained (two thirds all respondents) by speed improvements and windows availability (particularly in China they noted). We’re not sure on the work front – we feel it is primarily a toy/status symbol!

On the pricing front they have some interesting reactions to asking how much their respondents are prepared to pay for a multipurpose tablet (increase from 2010):

  • USA     – $140 – $240 ($35)
  • Europe – $250-$350 ($100)
  • China    – $280-$440 ($185)

They think, and we tend to agree, that the US “views may have been shaped by the advent of the $199 Kindle Fire …” which had just been announced at the time of their survey. They interpret the results as indicating that the iPad at $499 minimum in the US is priced too high for many consumers.

We liked one of their closing comments – “New uses-some not yet invented, others not even imagined-will fuel continued growth and take usage in unforeseen directions”.

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