Tablets tablets tablets…. I am pretty sure that there is no one who does not know about tablets at this point.  Tablets, including both multifunctional devices such as Apple’s iPad and dedicated eReaders like Amazon’s Kindle are expected to be the hot selling item this holiday shopping season, and no vendor or retailer is leaving any stone unturned to cash on this opportunity.  Every mainstream retailer is carrying tablets of some kind or another on its retail shelves.  Tablets are now available at many traditional and non-traditional retailers such as Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Staples, OfficeMax, Office Depot, Kohl’s, Micro Center, Fry’s Electronics, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Walgreens, JC Penney, Bed Bath & Beyond and others.

Best Buy’s tablet assortment has increased almost 3x from five tablets in April 2010, which included both multifunctional devices like the iPad and dedicated eReaders like the nook, to fourteen tablets this month.  Walmart increased its tablet selection from two Sony eReaders in April to carrying the entire iPad line as well as eReaders from Barnes & Noble and Kobo this month.  Even non-traditional sellers like Kohl’s and Bed Bath & Beyond carry eReaders.  Kohl’s carries a total of four different tablets for its less tech-savvy shoppers.  The only limit to the growth of the tablet category this season is the availability of fully capable devices from major vendors, as many manufacturers’ holiday 2010 launch plans have been reluctantly pushed to mid-2011.

Beyond carrying tablets, retailers and vendors are not letting any marketing funds go unused.  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Sony are aggressively advertising their products through TV, in-store signage, holiday gift guides, FSIs, and weekly circulars.  Apple’s iPad recently made it to the front page of Target, Best Buy, and Micro Center’s weekly ads.  While Amazon promoted its Kindle line’s rapid retail expansion with advertisements in Staples, Target, and Best Buy circulars.  Kindle also directly targeted the iPad in its commonly played TV ad, highlighting the benefits of an e-ink screen when reading outdoors and emphasizing its much lower price.  Barnes & Noble took a new direction with its advertising, targeting the daily train commuter (who is also a likely buyer for an eReader) as the bookseller’s nook is advertised on the ticket folder, included with each Amtrak ticket!!!  Daily commuters like me are sure not to miss it.

According to gap intelligence data, there were a total of 38 tablet advertisements last month compared to just 20 ads in April 2010, and surpassing every other month with the exception of the impressive Moms, Dads & Grads push in May of this year.  Most of these ads are aimed at building consumer awareness and letting shoppers know of the arrival of tablets at a chain.  Only 12 ads offered some kind of instant savings or bundle promotions to go with these devices, with a $20 average value.  And ad volume in November and December is expected to increase incrementally.

With so much activity happening in the tablet market, consumers are sure not to miss this hot selling item.  Like the holidays of 2008, when digital picture frames sold off the shelves, 2010 is going to be the Christmas of tablets, SORRY 3D TVs!!  Just hoping my friends and people reading this don’t give me multiple tablets.  Just one is enough!!!