Enterprises to drive tablet sales in 2013

by Sohini Bagchi    Jan 25, 2013


At a technology conference last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned that the day is not too far when the tablet market in units will be larger than the traditional PC market. He assumed that the day will come sometimes by the middle of 2013.

Cook’s assumption and similarly the forecast made by several analysts may turn out to be true according to a new ABI Research report that predicts that 2013 will be a big year in terms of adoption and shipment of tablet. According to the research, 145 million tablets will be shipped by this year end, with iPad mini and Windows 8 pushing the worldwide tablet shipments.

“The late 2012 launches of Apple’s iPad mini and a variety of slates based on Intel architecture as well as new Windows operating systems will only begin to gain steam this year,” says Jeff Orr, senior researcher at ABI Research.

The research also notes that sales of tablets will be driven by enterprise consumers with 30 million of these devices to be used in the workplace. This represents 19 percent of all tablets shipped in the same time period.

“Enterprise mobility is growing at a rapid pace. With the percentage of mobile workforce expected to increase in the coming days, tablets will become an indispensable tool for remote employees,” says Kumar R Parakala, Head of Management Consulting - IT Advisory, KPMG in EMA.

However, he does not agree that tablets will soon replace desktop PCs especially in the Indian market. According to him, tablets will continue to occupy a seat between smartphones and portable PCs without replacing either. They will complement PCs as media consumption devices, while at the same time, allow seamless sharing of content with mobile phones.

According to ABI, enterprises in verticals including retail, BFSI, healthcare, education and telecom and other field workers would be the key adopters of tablet devices in India. “Burgeoning broadband penetration and diverse connectivity options will further drive the adoption of tablets in businesses,” adds Parakala.

Consumerization of IT and the increased popularity of the BYOD trend is also encouraging more tablet sales worldwide. “With the proliferation of tablets in the enterprise however CIOs and decision makers should have suitable mobility policies in place and ensure that employees follow those policies,” warns S Anapinidi, CIO, CSS Corp.

He believes that with more operators migrating towards 4G networks, tablet PCs will further become a strategic vehicle for increased mobile data usage and if enterprises fail to ride the tablet wave, they are losing out on a big opportunity in the digital world.

According to Orr, the North American market would account for over 50 percent of these shipments followed by Asia Pacific and Western European countries. At the same time, the research firm expects more OEMs to unveil tablets specifically designed for the workplace in the coming months.

ABI is not only company forecasting huge tablet shipments this year. A few days ago, research firm Gartner also predicted that global PC shipments would decline in 2013 as tablet shipments increased. Gartner said that enterprise consumers are replacing PCs with tablets rather than purchasing new ones. The combination of new market entrants, more affordable choices for consumers and an increased growth by businesses will drive the market in the coming months, noted the Gartner research.