By 2017, nearly one-fifth of all tablet sales will come from businesses, according to research firm Forrester. Until then, tablet sales are expected to increase by tens of millions each year as tablet computing becomes increasingly mainstream among private consumers and enterprise organizations.
By the end of 2013, some 12 percent of the 186 million tablets sold will be used for enterprise purposes. But between their uses as both a customer-facing point of interaction and an internal business-operations solution, Forrester expects enterprise tablets to grow by 50 percent, comprising 18 percent of all tablets in 2017.
Meanwhile, annual tablet sales are expected to increase by approximately 200 million between 2013 and 2017, when sales will hit an all-time high of 381 million devices.
Forrester’s predictions are good news for tablets of all stripes, but Microsoft’s tablet line could stand to reap the greatest benefit. Microsoft has already shifted its focus toward increasing tablet sales related to enterprise, and there might be a growing market for such a solution: According to a 2012 Forrester survey, 20 percent of IT professionals expressed a desire for a tablet device that runs Windows 8.
Making a Play at the Growing Tablet Market
While Windows is poised for opportunity in the coming years, the current tablet market continues to be dominated by Apple and Android. Fifty-two percent of Forrester survey respondents named the iPad as their primary work tablet. Another 25 percent use an Android device.
In fact, Windows-running tablets comprise only 8 percent of all primary work tablets — that’s less than Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which totals 9 percent of all enterprise tablets.
Overall, tablets will see significant global adoption rates by 2017, when one in eight world citizens are anticipated to own one of the devices. However, these will be distributed in a markedly uneven manner: 60 percent of North American consumers are expected to own tablets by 2017, while developing nations won’t see tablet penetration surpass 25 percent.
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