Apple to Double Seven-Inch Tablet Market With iPad Mini

Today’s anticipated announcement of the iPad Mini will lead to the doubling of the market for seven-inch tablet computers, according to a new report.

Global sales of smaller tablets like the Kindle Fire HD, Google Nexus and iPad Mini are expected to boom to 34 million units in 2012, up from 17 million in 2011. Sales are expected to nearly double again in 2013 to 67 million, according the El Segundo, Calif.-based technology research firm.

IHS iSuppli expects Apple to dominate this market as it has the full-size tablet market.

“Just as Apple has dominated the market for 9.7-inch tablets with its iPad, iPad 2 and new iPad models, the company is poised to rule the market for 7.x-inch products, driving rapid growth of the segment in 2012 and 2013,” said Rhoda Alexander, director, tablet and monitor research for IHS, in a statement. “…Apple will successfully position the smaller iPad as a device that will be attractive and easy to adopt for both new and returning customers. This will spur rapid sales growth and provide tough competition for other companies contending in this size range.”

The new tablet will also increase market-share for seven-inch tablets among all tablets. In 2011, seven-inch tablets accounted for about 24% of all tablet purchases. In 2012, that number is expected to rise to 28% and in 2013, it is expected to rise again to 33%.

Last year and in early 2012 as sales for tablets like the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet took off, tablet-reading market-share for the iPad declined. At the same time, the share of those who read e-books on tablets versus other devices increased.

This is a mixed message for publishers. On the one hand, more reading devices in consumers’ hands broadens the e-reading population. On the other, tablet readers may be less likely to buy and read e-books than those who read on dedicated e-readers.

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