Taipei, Sept. 9, 2011 (CENS)--Global shipments of tablet devices, mainly e-book readers, were about 12.3 million units, and the volume is expected to grow 183% to approximately 34.8 million units in 2011 and a further growth of about 46% in 2012 to outstrip 50 million units, according to Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC) under Taiwan's Institute for Information Industry.
North America will still be the largest market with the highest growth potential for e-readers and e-books, the center said, in which Kindle, Sony and Nook generate most sales. In Europe, a fledging market, Thalia of Germany pushed own-brand e-reader in 2010, with the Amazon U.K.-Kindle tie-up stirring buzz. In China, a market with strong government support and abundant digital content, some hardware makers have tied up with mobile telecom companies to target the educational application market.
In conjunction with hot sales of iPads and iPhone, companies in Japan are teaming to promote e-reader products. Sony, KDDI etc. have set up sales divisions for e-book readers; while others have pushed various e-book readers with screen sizes ranging from 5.5- to 10.8-inch. In South Korea, the government announced in April 2010 that in five years the nation will have invested about US$52.2 million in the e-publication industry, motivating Samsung, Kyobo, KT etc. to jump on the bandwagon.
A senior analyst at MIC said that in the future the e-reader industry will tend towards integration and market reshuffling. Device makers and telecom companies will tie up to take on challenges of product differentiation, while touch-control and flexible screen will be the developmental focuses.
Consumers prefer e-readers with multimedia functions, MIC said, the overall performance, colorization, and product differentiation are key factors for market success. Cross-industry alliances will also be decisive for players in the new game, the center said.
(by Quincy Liang)