With less-than-rosy economic outlook, shoppers are being more concerned with their dollars. Therefore, it is not surprising to see that many are voting for smaller and cheaper tablets. According to market research firm IDC, this may move Google’s Android ahead of Apple’s iOS by a small margin for the first time in the tablet market as the popularity of 7 to 8 inches tablets increases.

According to IDC, 7 to 8 inches tablets make up for half of all the tablets shipped in the the first quarter of 2013. This is no surprise as Apple’s 7.9-inch iPad Mini was a hit when launched last fall. New major releases from Asus (Fonepad) and Samsung (Galaxy Note 8.0) at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona also fell in the 7 to 8 inches category.

IDC also predicted that this year, worldwide tablet shipments will be 190.9 million, a 11 percent increase from earlier estimates. This 11 percent increase is not only estimated for 2013 but on average, between 2014 and 2016 tablets shipment forecasts have increased by the same figure.

IDC expects Android’s market share to hit 48.8 percent this year, up 18 percent from the original forecast. iOS’s share is expected to dip below 50 percent for the first time this year. Windows 8 tablets are not a threat at the moment, capturing only 1 percent of market share in 2012 given its release in late October.

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