If you have been following the tablet industry then you surely have seen this beast grow quickly.  gap intelligence has been following the pulse of this market since the introduction of the first iPad in April 2010 and seen the market grow from 1 vendor (Apple) to 39 different vendors in the US retail channel by April 2012.  The tablet market is currently comprised of vendors from a variety of industries including PCs, mobile phones, and books.  The retail channel is flooded with products from brand name vendors like Apple, Samsung, Toshiba, Lenovo, Asus, Acer, Pandigital, and newcomers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  In addition to these well-known brands, lower-tier vendors like Leader, E Fun, Maylong, Zeki, and Zendex have also managed to secure placements for their entry-level devices.

In line with the increasing number of tablet vendors, retail placements have also seen a dramatic growth during the same time.  According to gap intelligence’s US retail data, tablet placements grew by 183% between April 2011 and April 2012.

As noted above, tablets are quickly becoming a mainstream category and retailers are increasingly dedicating more shelf space to the category.  This whopping growth has not been limited to select retailers, but has been shared by almost all chains.  While stores like Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and Fry’s Electronics have been at the forefront of this increase, office chains are also showing strong growth.  With increasing tablet usage in businesses, offering tablets at office supply stores only seems logical and in line with their clientele and overall strategy, especially with Windows 8 on the way.

Tablets possibly are one of the fastest growing electronic product categories.  While presently, the market is dominated by Android and iOS devices, Windows 8 is expected to release this fall.  The availability of Windows 8 OS for tablets opens yet another door for manufacturers, who until now have offered devices with Android or their own proprietary OS.  At the recently concluded Computex 2012, many vendors showcased multiple Windows 8-based devices which will reach the market by the 2012 holiday shopping season.  Players like Asus, Acer, Lenovo, Samsung, and Toshiba, who showcased their Windows 8 devices, are relying heavily on the forthcoming Windows platform to increase their respective tablet market share.  Windows 8 will also bring back vendors like HP and Dell to the tablet arena, further fueling this growth.  With that, while the tablet market has been exciting thus far, new growth drivers are still forthcoming.  As always, gap intelligence has its radar on the industry and continue to be the “eyes and ears” for our clients!