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Kindle leading e-reader market, iPad rules tablets…so far

January 19th, 2011

KindleFRAMINGHAM, MA – Market research and analysis firm IDC reports that the Amazon Kindle continues to run well ahead of the pack in the e-reader market, accounting for 41.5 percent of the category in the last quarter (as we predicted in a review of the device late last year). The new quarterly report from IDC also says the iPad practically owned the tablet market, accounting for 90 percent of those shipped in the quarter.

We have noticed other e-reader makers offering devices at lower price points to compete with the wireless Kindle selling for $139 for the least expensive model.

In the tablet market, iPad is about to get a raft of competition from other device makers and is unlikely to hold on to its overwhelmingly dominant position.

Here’s IDC’s breakdown of the e-reader market:

Vendor Outlook: eReaders

  • Amazon was the market leader for the quarter with more than 1.1 million units shipped and 41.5% share worldwide.
  • Pandigital, which has a U.S. focus for its Novel ereaders with models based not only on epaper but also color LCD technology, came in second to Amazon worldwide and just edged out Barnes and Noble.
  • Barnes and Noble, which is currently shipping exclusively in the U.S. market, was a strong contender for the number 3 position in 3Q10 and is expected to have good results in 4Q10 given its strong brand, competitive pricing for its epaper-based products, and the introduction of the new NOOcolor in 4Q10.
  • Sony was a distant number 4 vendor with slightly more than 200,000 units shipped and 8.4% worldwide share. Sony’s early lead in North American ereader market has been usurped by Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
  • China-based Hanvon edged close to Sony and effectively tied for fourth place with 8.2% worldwide share.

For the ereader market, IDC anticipates 2010 to close at 10.8 million units shipped worldwide, with the U.S. representing 72.4% of global shipments. IDC forecasts 14.7 million units to ship in 2011 and 16.6 million in 2012, with demand driven by price competition among epaper-based device vendors, the introduction of color display ereaders, and the expansion of digital book and periodical content offerings across genres and languages.

Here’s the tablet breakdown:

Vendor Outlook: Media Tablets

  • Apple definitively led the worldwide media tablet market in shipments and set the standard for technology innovation in 2010, with nearly 4.2 million units shipped in 3Q10 and an 87.4% share worldwide.
  • During 3Q10 a handful of tier 2 and tier 3 vendors shipped media tablets based primarily on Android 2.1 and 2.2. In 4Q10, Samsung‘s introduction of the Galaxy Tab brought the first tier 1 device vendor to the Android media tablet market. Media tablet market growth is expected to accelerate significantly in 1Q11 with new products from multiple high-profile device vendors, including Motorola‘s Xoom, based on Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), and RIM‘s BlackBerry PlayBook based on BlackBerry Tablet OS.
  • Looking forward, IDC expects the media tablet market to finish 2010 at nearly 17 million units, and forecasts 44.6 million will ship in 2011, with the U.S. representing nearly 40% of the total. In 2012, IDC forecasts worldwide shipments of 70.8 million units. Growth in 2011 and beyond will be driven by device vendors introducing media tablets based on Android and other operating systems, as well as price and feature competition and strong demand in both the consumer and commercial segments.

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