Yearly U.S. Tablet Sales to Triple by 2015

Only TVs, PCs will have bigger global markets, forecast predicts

Four years from now nearly 50 million tablet devices will be sold annually in the United States, according to a new report released by the Boston-based research firm Strategy Analytics—and the iPad will still be a major player.

Strategy Analytics predicts that in 2015, Americans will snatch up 49 million tablets, up from the 15 million sold in 2010 when the market consisted almost entirely of Apple iPads. With demand surging at similar rates worldwide, the firm predicts the overall global market for the relatively new category will total $49 billion four years from now. That figure would make tablets the third-largest consumer electronics category behind TVs and PCs.

Apple should still be the biggest player in 2015, but the company won't own the tablet market like it does now, according to Strategy Analytics director Neil Mawston. The average price of tablets will be markedly lower in other parts of the world, particularly Asia, as the firm foresees a bifurcated market emerging between high-end devices like the iPad and alternatives with less brand cachet.

"We think it is a mainstream product that appeals to all consumer segments," said Mawston. "People are moving away from keyboard devices to touch screen devices, as we've seen in mobile. "