Will iPad Sales Rise if the Tablet Market Soars Above 250M Units in 2013?
This figure seemed to have been diminished the moment Apple announced its June quarter sales results. iPad sales fell to 14.6 million units versus 17 million in the year-ago period and 19.5 million units during the March quarter.
That sales decline may prevent Apple from selling 88 million tablets in 2013, as previously estimated.
Thus far, global tablet sales have been impressive this year but far from record-breaking. All told, there have been roughly 34 million iPads sold by Apple and another 28 million tablets shipped by other manufacturers.
Despite these low numbers, NPD's DisplaySearch has forecasted global tablet shipments of more than 250 million units this year. In 2014, DisplaySearch researchers expect that number to jump to 364 million units.
At the rate tablet shipments are going, manufacturers would have to send another 200 million units to retail (between now and December 31) in order to meet the 2013 estimate.
Assuming that everything remains constant and that no other mobile operating systems appear, iOS and Android are likely to continue to dominate. Thus, their sales should skyrocket if the market grows fast enough to demand the shipment increase.
To put that into perspective, current iOS tablet sales and non-iOS tablet shipments are just over 62 million units combined. Based on DisplaySearch's numbers, tablet shipments could rise more than 300 percent before the year's end.
That being the case, Apple could ultimately sell more than 100 million tablets.
However, it is not clear how Apple or any other manufacturer could pull this off. The DisplaySearch report cites the usual reasons for high shipment expectations (ex: tablets are cheaper, contain superior battery life and generally sell better than notebook PCs). But the report does not provide a catalyst for the sales spike.
The release of new tablets, such as Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) next-generation Nexus 7 and the iPad Mini 2, could provide meaningful growth. But they may not be able to push sales -- or merely shipments -- high enough to reach these lofty figures.
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ
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