Tablet usage worldwide is sharply on the rise, increasing by 282 percent since 2011. And as the tablet shadow looms even larger over the declining personal computer era, Android holds a healthy lead over Apple’s iPad.
Through the first quarter of 2013, Android could claim 156 million tablet users, far ahead of the iPad’s 122 million. That’s according to the streaming device study produced by GlobalWebIndex, which surveyed Internet users across 31 major markets around the globe.
Battling for Tablet Supremacy
The GlobalWebIndex study offers a much different perspective than some past studies have provided. While a recent Chitika report credited 80 percent of tablet usage in the United States and Canada to the iPad, the GlobalWebIndex study illustrates those trends changing on a global scale.
A big part of that trend could be the lower price point of Android devices, which are more accessible in less-affluent communities and regions around the world. Google has focused its efforts on lowering the cost of its tablets to capitalize on lower-income markets.
Overall, Android and iOS devices combine to account for 75 percent of all tablet users worldwide. Windows 8 is a distant third, claiming only 9.6 million tablet users. But the forecast for tablet market in the coming years suggests big changes lie ahead.
A Widening Margin for Android
While the iPad is within striking distance of Android right now, there’s no indication that Apple will close that gap in the coming years. In fact, GlobalWebIndex expects Android to increase its global market share in tablets as Apple continues a slide that began in early 2012.
By 2016, Android is expected to hold almost 70 percent of the tablet market. And similar trends are expected on the smartphone front, where Android is projected to grab 80 percent of global smartphone users in the same timeframe.
It’s important to note that Apple is still performing strongly in the United States and Canada, as well as in the United Kingdom and Australia, and it maintains a majority share of the domestic smartphone market. But Android seems poised to become the clear worldwide leader in the tablet market, and that could dramatically change how marketers conceptualize Androids vs. iPads — especially when targeting a global consumer base.
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