US Tablet Sales Will More Than Double This Year

Today Forrester published its revised US consumer tablet forecast, updating its previous forecast from June 2010. When Apple's iPad first debuted, we saw the device as a game-changer but were too conservative with our forecast. Since then, we've fielded additional consumer surveys and an SMB and enterprise survey, conducted additional supply-side research, and seen more sales numbers from Apple. We've had briefings from many companies that will release new tablets at CES. All of these inputs have led us to revise our US consumer tablet forecast for 2010 upward to 10.3 million units, and we expect sales to more than double in 2011 to 24.1 million units. Of those sales, the lion's share will be iPads, and despite many would-be competitors that will be released at CES, we see Apple commanding the vast majority of the tablet market through 2012.

Forrester's US Consumer Tablet Forecast, updated Jan. 4, 2011:

One major assumption that changed in our model is the replacement rate, which we think will be closer to that of MP3 players or iPhones than to that of PCs. Although they are certainly used for productivity, tablets are proving themselves to be "lifestyle devices" at home and at work, and as such we think consumers will upgrade to newer models more rapidly than they would a more utilitarian device like a PC. In other words, we think a significant number of first-generation iPad buyers will buy iPad 2 when it comes out this year -- many first-gen iPads will end up entertaining the kids in the back of the car while Mom and Dad get the shiny new (likely Facetime-compatible) model.

As for Android tablets, Research In Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook, Microsoft's Windows-based tablets, and tablets that run on HP's and Nokia's platforms, they'll take a backseat to Apple, but in a market this big, there's room for more than one player. By 2015, 82 million US consumers -- one-third of US online consumers -- will be using a tablet, and not all of them will be iPads. We'll be blogging and tweeting (@srepps) as much as possible from CES with our take on who has the most promising competitors this year.