Media Tablets to double in 2011, Android to triple

Sydney, Australia. After a strong end to 2010 and in anticipation of new device launches, media tablet shipments across Australia and New Zealand shrank by 34% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) to slightly above 200,000 units in Q1 2011, according to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Media Tablet and eReader Tracker.

Australia contributed to 85% of the total Q1 shipments, while the rest represented the New Zealand market size in the same quarter.

“The decrease in shipments is a result of weak consumer demand after a busy Christmas period, proceeded by the anticipation of Apple’s iPad 2 along with a series of Android 3.0 Honeycomb devices," said Yee-Kuan Lau, Market Analyst for IDC Australia. "Samsung, being the second largest vendor in Q1, was further affected by excessive channel inventory of Galaxy Tab from the previous quarter.”

Australia and New Zealand media tablet shipments are expected to exhibit strong growth this year with double the volume from 2010. IDC expects this to be largely driven from the supply-side with the launch of new devices and additional new entrants in the media tablets competitive landscape.

Android media tablet shipments are likely to triple this year with iOS devices maintaining a leadership position in the market. However, the media tablet marketplace will be more crowded in 2H 2011 with new entrants such as webOS and Blackberry OS devices taking up a small percentage of the unit market share.

“Early adopters who would like to purchase a media tablet device as soon as possible may have already gone down the path of purchasing Apple iPad 2 at the end of March. However, the launch of the Android 3.0 Honeycomb media tablets started from May onwards will be the first sign of disruption in the media tablet market,” said Lau.

“While the launch of Android 3.0 Honeycomb media tablets may not be significant enough to cause a shift in the competitors’ landscape now, this will spur growth in Android tablets within 2011.”

In the long run, the Media Tablet forecast annual growth rate is expected to gradually decline as the market matures. The key question lies in when media tablet fatigue will be dominant enough to slow down the market. Nonetheless, price points, applications and connectivity will remain key growth drivers of the media tablets market. Price points are expected to progressively drop as component costs decline and competition ramps up, subsequently driving end user demand.