If you thought the tablet market was popular now, just wait until 2017. According to data released by market research firm DisplaySearch, tablet PC shipments are expected to balloon from 81.6 million units in 2011 to 424.9 million units in 2017. What's more, DisplaySearch increased its shipment forecast for next year (2013) from 168.9 million tablets to 184.2 million. These numbers have mostly benefited Apple
, but more players will begin to take bigger slices of the tablet pie in the coming years, DisplaySearch says.
"So far in this relatively young product category, the tablet PC market has been dominated by Apple and has tended to include a number of competing products that are similarly configured to the iPad," said Richard Shim, NPD DisplaySearch Senior Analyst. "However, as the market matures and competitors become better attuned to consumer preferences and find opportunities to break new ground, we expect the landscape to change dramatically, giving consumers more choices, which will drive demand for more devices."
DisplaySearch estimates that Apple's market share will drop to 50.9 percent in 2017, still a better than majority of the entire segment, but down from a commanding 72.1 percent in 2012. Android, meanwhile, is expected to go from serving 22.5 percent the market in 2012 to 40.5 percent in 2017. That's assuming Windows doesn't make a huge splash and is only able to grab a 7.5 percent share in the next five years.