According to NPD DisplaySearch the global market research and consulting firm, the tablet market is expected to grow by five times, over the next five years. The firm predicted that from a total of 81.6 million tablets that were shipped in 2011, it will hit an alleged 424.9 million tablets by 2017. The reason for this surge according to NPD is because of an expected flourish among mobile operating systems and display technologies. An excerpt from the report by NPD senior analyst Richard Shim states,

“So far in this relatively young product category, the tablet PC market has been dominated by Apple and has tended to include a number of competing products that are similarly configured to the iPad. However, as the market matures and competitors become better attuned to consumer preferences and find opportunities to break new ground we expect the landscape to change dramatically, giving consumers more choices, which will drive demand for those devices.

As opposed to a fever that has to get worse before it gets better, NPD predicts that Apple will control about 75% of the global tablet market with the iPad by next year. However over the following five years the analysts believe that it will maintain its lead but lose its total grasp on it. By NPD’s numbers, iOS tablets will account for just a little more than 50% of all tablets on the market.

NPD attributes Apple’s predicted loss in market share to Android tablets such as the Kindle Fire in particular which is said to have ignited more diversification in the market and the analysts behind the report also think that the upcoming Windows 8 for tablets will also play a major role in this field by leaping from a predicted 1.5% this year to 7.5% in 2017. NPDs findings are extrapolations of current trends and as such should not be taken as is. With retailers like Target, only a few days ago opting to stop the sale of Amazon or Kindle related products, in their stores, who knows what is in store for tablets down the road.

Filed in Apple >Tablets. Read more about Android, Kindle Fire and Windows 8.

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