Non-Apple Tablet Growth Accelerates In 2011

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Port Washington, N.Y. - Non-Apple tablet sales hit 1.2 million units sold during the first 10 full months of 2011, according to a report by The NPD Group.

These tablets and their attendant accessories generated $415 million in sales.

NPD's Stephen Baker, industry analysis VP, said sales accelerated throughout 2011, with each quarter's performance bettering that of the previous quarter.

"Third-quarter sales were two times that of second-quarter sales, and second-quarter sales were three times better than first quarter," the report stated.


Hewlett-Packard was the leading brand during this period, garnering 17 percent of the sales. HP's tenure in the category has been marked by several hits or misses.

The company entered the tablet market to great fanfare in July, but one month later began to have second thoughts and reduced the price by $100 on its 16GB and 32GB units to $399 and $499, respectively.

Just a few weeks later, the company then gave up all hope and


from the tablet market when sales did not meet expectations.

However, HP finally found success when it hosted a tablet blowout sale by lowering the price to $99 in order to clean out its inventory.

To some extent, HP's summer maneuvers skew the market by making it difficult to tell if its sales were due to true interest in the product or category or the fire sale pricing, Baker said.

The NPD report did make a case for non-Apple tablets, finding that 76 percent of consumers who bought a non-Apple tablet did not even consider an iPad, which indicates there is a large group of people looking for alternatives in the tablet market, Baker said.

The fact that the top five brands consisted of high-profile PC and phone makers could mean trouble for other tablet makers.

"The market is filled with longtime PC and phone brands as well as low-cost entrants," stated Baker. "With a limited amount of shelf space and challenges in overcoming the iPads first mover strength, not all brands will be successful."

The other big winners in the tablet segment are the accessory manufacturers. In the third quarter one-third of the market revenue was from accessories, and two-thirds of that figure was spent on cases and screen protectors. This made perfect sense to Baker, who said customers are buying an expensive device and want to ensure it does not get damaged, thus creating a strong opportunity for established and new accessory makers.


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