BEIJING, CHINA: The global sales of tablet PCs experienced an explosive growth in 2011, with a volume of 60.395 million and a revenue of RMB 234.33 billion, up 251.8 percent and 186.7 percent, respectively, year-on-year.
New features of global tablet PC market in 2011
Diversified products and intensive launch of new products
With the hot sale of iPad in 2010, leading PC vendors, smart phone manufacturers and content providers like Samsung, DELL, Motorola, HTC, ASUS, Acer and Amazon also got into the tablet PC market, and rolled out tablet PCs based on the Android operating system, with screen sizes ranging from 10.1 inches, 9.7 inches, 8 inches, 7 inches to 5 inches. Meanwhile, whether a tablet PC can make telephone calls became a significant differentiator.
Well-received iPad 2 helping Apple further expand influence on tablet PC market
In March 2011, iPad 2 was released in US, 1/3 thinner and lighter than iPad 1. Meanwhile, iPad 2 adopts a dual-core A5 processor, and its battery can last 10 hours. With both front and rear cameras, iPad 2 users can make video calls through FaceTime. Thus, iPad 2 further clarified its high-end positioning, and became the top choice among tablet PCs sold at over RMB 3,500.
Vendors competing with low cost and Differentiation
Amazon Kindle Fire gained great attention in the global market as well. The 7-inch screen is more portable compared with iPad 2’s 9.7-inch screen. Moreover, according to research institutions, Kindle Fire’s $199 market price is even slightly below its hardware cost. It generates income through sales of hardware and accessories, and most importantly, content sales and advertising. Other leading vendors who also took part in the competition are unlikely to offer such a low price, for they still rely on hardware sales for profit. Besides, they also failed to differentiate their products from iPad 2, because they still focus on hardware configuration and user experience.
In 2010, China’s tablet PC market experienced a startup and a fast growth. In March 2011, As Apple unveiled iPad 2, which further spurred market demand, leading PC and cell phone vendors scrambled to roll out products to compete with iPad 2. In 2011, sales volume of tablet PC came to 4,925,000 in China, increasing nearly 10 times from 2010; sales revenue surged nearly eight times to RMB 18.98 billion.
China’s tablet PC market experienced structural changes in 2011
With a low-price strategy, domestic brands’ market share rose sharply
While iPad was the only winner in China’s tablet PC market in 2010, in 2011 numerous PMP vendors and cell phone manufacturers got into the tablet PC market, focusing on the 7-inch Android tablet PC market and grabbing market share quickly with prices as low as below RMB 1,000. In the 4th quarter of 2011, Lenovo rolled out several tablet PCs priced around RMB 1,000, which had a strong impact on the low-end market and effectively expanded LePad’s market share.
Android tablet PC showed a trend of polarization
In China’s tablet PC market last year, high-end tablets above RMB 3,500 and low-end tablets below RMB 1,500 became mainstream products, while products between RMB 1,500 and RMB 3,500 didn’t sell well.
Industrial application of tablet PC kicked off
Tablet PC holds considerable potential in its industrial application, for it is portable, visual, handy and flexible in function expansion. In 2011, tablet PC was preliminary applied in China’s catering, entertainment and travel industries. Some vendors have also started preliminary research and planning on the application of tablet PC in key industries like education, health, finance and e-government.