ipad127% growth forecast for iPad units sold in 2011

Apple will have sold 8.5 million iPads in the US by the end of this year, eMarketer estimates. That makes up the vast majority of total US tablet sales, at 88%.

iPad sales in particular and tablet sales overall will increase dramatically over the next two years. Nearly 20 million of Apple’s shiny touchscreen devices will be sold next year, an increase of 127%, and by 2012 sales will surpass 30 million. Meanwhile, the tablet market will diversify and the iPad’s share will decline somewhat, to 74% of the total by 2012.

US Tablet and iPad Sales, 2010-2012 (millions of units, % of total and % change)

Worldwide, tablet sales will increase even more quickly, and the iPad will be slightly less prominent—but retain the greatest part of the market, projected at 69% in 2012. The US will account for most tablet and iPad sales over the period.

As tablets catch on with consumers, the installed base of US tablet users will increase exponentially, but remain a relatively small share of the total population. By 2012, eMarketer forecasts nearly 41 million Americans will have a tablet device, or 12.8% of the total.

US Tablet Installed Base, 2010-2012 (millions and % of population)

According to September 2010 data from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, tablet ownership is significantly higher among affluent adults. Among survey respondents with household income of at least $75,000, tablet penetration was 9%, compared to 5% among those making $50,000 to $74,999 and just 2% among the lowest-income group ($30,000 or less). This mirrors the patterns seen for ownership of a variety of internet-connected devices, including desktop and laptop computers, but with much lower overall penetration. Cellphones, in contrast, have a much flatter distribution by income.

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