Forrester Research revised its global tablet sales forecast upward today and said the biggest competition for Apple Inc.’s iPad may be … e-readers.
Forrester now expects that 34.3 per cent of all adults will own atabletin the U.S. by 2016 while in Europe the penetration level is forecasttohit 30.4 per cent by then. The bring your own device (BYOD) trend isdefinitely fuelling sales, with 37 per cent of all American tabletowners taking them to work.
While that’s not terribly surprising, Forrester’s assessment of whatmay be the most looming threat to iPad sales is very interesting.
“Google is essentially gaining (Android) tablet platform share – butnot through Motorola, Samsung, HTC or its other mobile or PC OEMpartners,” Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps writes in her blogtoday. “No, Google is gaining thanks to Amazon and Barnes &Noble, whose tablets use a version of Android branded with their ownservices, not Google’s.”
“We believe that Amazon and Barnes & Noble have actuallyexpanded the addressable market for tablets in the U.S. by launchingtheir tablets at significantly lowerprice points than the iPad,” Eppscontinues.
Although pricing is a strong influencing factor in tablet sales as themarket gets more competitive, Epps writes, e-readers are provingpopular with consumers because they target a specific usability factor– reading ebooks — that differentiates them from all thepure play, generic Android tablets out there.
Epps’ advice for Apple in the face of these rising rivals?
“We think Apple should launch a smaller, cheaper iPad to ward offcompetition from Amazon,” she suggests.