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2012 Tablet Shipments To Hit 126.6 Million

El Segundo, Calif. – The tablet PC’s popularity is showing no sign of waning.

IHS iSuppli is forecasting a 56 percent increase in worldwide tablet shipments, to 126.6 million units this year.

Apple, with its 9-inch iPad, will continue to dominate the market, but IHS noted that the 7-inch tablets — dominated by Samsung, Amazon and Barnes & Noble — are now the fastest-growing tablet segment.

In 2012 the 9-inch segment will comprise 59 percent of the market, with 74.3 million units shipping. This is up 35 percent from 2011.

However, the 7-inch category will see shipments almost double from last year, to 41.1 million for about 32 percent of the market. This increase was fueled by the introduction of lower-priced products in this area this year.

The rest of the market is shared between tablets falling into the 8- and 5-inch categories.

IHS reported that LG and Samsung were the primary suppliers of tablet displays during the first quarter of 2012, with 42 percent and 38 percent of the market, respectively. LG is supplying displays to Apple, Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and Samsung is supplying its own tablet division.

The booming tablet market is also beginning to attract new display manufacturers, with Sharp, Japan Display and Panasonic dedicating capacity at their Gen 6 and 8 display plants to tablet production. These companies are expected to increase display output by 164 percent from 2011 to meet demand.