2012 tablet sales to be slower than expected: analyst

Apple will sell 60 million iPads in 2012, according to Peter Misek of Jeffries, though the analyst has revised his prediction of 150 million sales for the whole of the tablet market next year.

Misek now believes that sales of tablets this year willonly reach the125 million mark and gives two reasons for this revised estimate.

Firstly, Misek said in a new note issued to Jeffries clients today, isthat the market has consolidated more quickly than expected.

“Apple, Samsung, and Amazon are the clear momentum leaders at thispoint. We believe this was mainly due to the immaturity of the Androidtablet ecosystem and poor pricing strategies,” Misek wrote.

“Many Android tablet vendors like Motorola Mobility Holdings initiallypriced their devices at or above the iPad while offering less totalfunctionality (even if the hardware spec may have been better). Theyreacted to initial anemic sales by cutting prices, but it was moreinventory clearance rather than rather than an investment to gain abeachhead of market share in a rapidly growing market segment.”

Another reason that Jeffries has lowered its tablet sales estimates isthat expectations that network operators would aggressively pushsubsidized tablet deals hadn’tmaterialised.

Apple to stay in lead
“We had thought that carriers focus more promotional efforts onsubsidised tablets with two-year data contracts, especially as a way tohighlight their new LTE networks. While we still thinkthat valueproposition makes sense for carriers, we have removed that expectationfrom our 2012 estimates,” Misek said.

Tablet sales of 125 million in 2012 will represent a 79 percentyear-on-year growth for the sector. In 2013, Jeffries estimates therewill be 170 million tablet sales, with 220 million in 2014.

Apple will retain a comfortable lead in the tablet market, according toJeffries’ predictions, though its market share will drop to 48 percentthis year from 58 percent in 2011. In 2013, Apple will sell 71 millioniPads, giving it a 42 percent share and in 2014 Misek estimates 82million iPad sales giving Apple a 37 percent share.

“We believe Apple will increasingly tier its tablet offerings bylaunching the iPad 3 and keeping the iPad 2 but at a lower price,”Misek said, adding that tablet prices in general would continue to fallacross the market.

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