ABI Research reports sales of tablets hit 13.6 million units in Q2 2011, eclipsing netbook sales for the first time. Netbook sales came in at 7.3 million in Q2 2011, a drop of 1.1 million units compared to the previous quarter, while tablet sales soared by 112 percent.
Media tablet shipments surpassed netbook shipments this quarter, reaching 13.6 million units, compared to just 7.3 million netbooks. Netbooks had previously led the way with 8.4 million shipments in 1Q11, compared to just 6.4 million media tablets.
"This is a trend that we do not expect will reverse," says Jeff Orr, group director, mobile devices. "As they are different segments, this is not a direct replacement behavior, but a changing of leadership for the most interesting device type."
Driving media tablet interest is Apple's iPad 2. 68% of the media tablet shipments in 2Q11 consisted of Apple iPad models. Consumers are choosing tablets over netbooks for a number of reasons. "Media tablets are perceived to be easy to use, compared to the keyboard and mouse interface of a netbook computer. Those who have avoided PCs because they are difficult to use – think the Baby Boomer generation and older – see media tablets as an opportunity to re-engage with Internet access. Cost, however, is certainly not a reason driving tablet interest, as the average media tablet costs approximately $600 and the average netbook is only about half of that," says Orr.
While 32 million netbooks and 60 million media tablets are expected to ship worldwide in 2011, netbooks still hold interest in underserved countries, where PC penetration to the home, along with broadband services, are not widely available. Media tablet shipments will primarily cater to the early-adopter consumer audiences of Western Europe, the US, Japan, and South Korea.
ABI Research's new market data, "Tablets, Netbooks, and Mobile CE Market Data," provides forecasts for all ultra-mobile devices (UMDs), including netbooks, media tablets, UMPCs, mobile Internet devices (MIDs) and six types of mobile broadband-enabled consumer electronics (CE) devices.
It is part of the Tablets, Netbooks & Mobile CE Research Service.
Interestingly, ABI Research is the same company who just two years ago predicted that netbook sales would hit 139 million units by 2013.