Tablets In Europe: No iPad Competitor In Sight

We are publishing a new Forrester report today on the European tablet market. With the recent launch (and huge marketing push) of the Acer Iconia Tab and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in multiple European countries, one might think that things were looking up for Android tablets in Europe — but that’s not the case. In our report, we found that:

  • Europe is, and will be, a huge market for tablets. We are projecting that EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) will account for 14.5 million, or 30%, of worldwide consumer tablet sales in 2011. Three times as many Europeans as have tablets today say they are interested in buying one in the future.
  • Outside the UK, Apple could be vulnerable to competition. Apple has 52 Apple Stores in Europe, and 30 of them are in the UK. (For reference, there are 238 Apple Stores in the US.) Apple’s brand and channel presence is not uniformly strong in Europe; Mac ownership, for example, is lower in every EU-7 country than it is in the US.
  • But no competitor has met Apple’s challenge. Despite Apple’s potential vulnerability, we estimate that Apple still has 70% market share for tablet sell-through to consumers in Europe. (Sell-through is different from shipments; our interviews with European retailers confirmed that non-iPad tablet inventory is sitting in the channel — i.e., manufacturers are shipping more tablets than consumers are buying. So if you read reports that Apple has a lower market share, look at whether the report is measuring shipments or sell-through.) What’s more, non-iPad tablet competition is quite fragmented — OEMs, operators, and niche players form a crowded marketplace but one notably devoid of shoppers. iPad competitors’ prices are too high, and no competitor has matched Apple on content or channel strategy.

What it means: Low-cost tablets from ODMs like Huawei and ZTE will put downward pricing pressure on the market, but consumers need more than a lower price tag to buy. Sony, which has a strong brand and channel presence in Europe but tends to price on the high end, may have some success with its upcoming Sony S1 tablet. But truly radical disruption requires innovating the adjacent possible, as we expect Amazon to do in the US. Without a radical Amazon-like disruptor, Europeans are likely to buy an iPad — or wait for something truly different to come along.


Try again, your research is wrong

Archos, a small 100-employee french tablet company easily took 22% of the tablet market away from Apple last year in the last most selling November-December months in France (source: GtK), imagine what 20 other Android tablet competitors can help do. Archos and other Android tablet makers have very strong presence also in Germany, UK, and consumers in Switzerland, Spain, Italy, eastern Europe just don't want iPad. Before Christmas, Android tablets will own more than 65% of the tablet market worldwide. That's a faster growth rate than Android smartphones destroyed the iPhone in market share last year after the Nexus One was released.

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Screen, Access, Interest and Channel businesses...

> > "...iPad competitors’ prices are too high, and no competitor has matched Apple on content or channel strategy..."

Yes. Apple, Google, Nokia, Amazon... they all are in SAIC or TIMO businesses. It means that companies need a strategy with all four dimensions. Nokia is loser because they have only one little screen plus SW arsenal through Microsoft. Only Apple and Google have all four dimensions under their thumb.

Amazingly Sony, News Corp., all operators and all social media companies do not build this 4D model. I would like to invite Sony+NewsCorp+Orange+Oracle+Intel to form a new consortium to challenge Apple and Google.

Br, Juhani Risku

SAIC = Screen & Access & Interest & Channel businesses
TIMO = Technology – Internet – Media – Operator model