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Thursday, December 13, 2012

E-Reader Sales Crumble, Tablet Sales Explode

It appears the e-reader market has bottomed out.

A new study from HIS iSuppli Consumer Electronics reports that shipments of the devices will fall 36% by year’s end, down to 14.9 million units from 23.2 million units in 2011. The study predicts shipments will drop another 10.9 million units in 2013 and total just 7.1 million units by 2016.

“The versatility of the media tablet—able to serve as a reader of e-mails as well as books, while capable of surfing the web and playing movies—has even overcome the cost advantages of the e-book reader,” the report said.

Dedicated e-readers will have to sell at cost or less to maintain their market, according to the report, which points to the Txtr Beagle device, which has a 5-in. screen and a potential selling price of $13, as an example. However, iSuppli predicts that even such a low price won’t be enough to help e-readers regain their popularity.

The clear winner is tablet computers, with shipments expected to reach 122 million this year and 172 million in 2013. Growth is being fueled by strong sales of Android tablets, along with the addition of the iPad mini to the Apple product line.

“Tablets continue to captivate consumers, and as the market shifts toward smaller, more mobile screen sizes and lower prices points, we expect demand to accelerate in the fourth quarter and beyond,” said Tom Mainelli, IDC research director in a statement to Campus Technology. “Android tablets are gaining traction in the market thanks to solid products from Google, Amazon, Samsung, and others. And Apple’s November iPad mini launch, along with its surprise refresh of the full-sized iPad, positions the company well for a strong holiday season.”

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