E-Reader sales expected to top 11 million units in 2011Global e-reader sales are forecast to total 6.6 million units in 2010, up 79.8 percent from 2009 sales of 3.6 million units, according to a recent report from Gartner, Inc.
The research firm predicts sales will jump another 68% in 2011 and surpass 11 million.
“The connected e-reader market has grown dramatically during the past two years, driven by sales of Amazon’s e-readers, primarily in North America. This is the dominant region for e-reader sales, and we predict that it will account for sales of just over 4 million units in 2010,” said Hugues De La Vergne, principal research analyst at Gartner.
North America is expected to remain the key market for eReader sales through 2014, although its dominance will decline significantly as regions such as Western Europe and Asia/Pacific become the leading locations for growth.
Three vendors dominate today’s e-reader market (Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Sony), however new competitors are expected to appear in the future with low-cost devices subsidized by content owners. Gartner says large consumer electronics and PC firms such as HP and Dell are also trying to position themselves strongly in the market for connected consumer devices.
E-readers have carved out a solid niche in the consumer electronics market due to their portability, long battery life, solid display technology (although most lack color screens) and relatively inexpensive retail prices.
Cannibalization by media tablets represents the biggest threat to e-readers. Media tablets can offer a compelling experience for electronic magazines and newspapers, due to their widespread adoption of displays that show color and support full-motion video. By incorporating e-reader functionality, media tablets can perform many different functions, including supporting e-reader applications.
“With media tablets offering more functionality, e-reader vendors need to target avid readers who may see the value of a stand-alone device that performs particularly well,” said Allen Weiner, research vice president at Gartner.
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