iPad’s Australian dominance to end as Android takes over
Apple’s tablet market share has been particularly strong in Australia, but the tide has begun to turn in favour of Google’s Android, with Windows also emerging. Photo: Bloomberg
Apple’s iPad could lose its top spot in Australia’s tablet market within 18 months, according to Forrester Research analyst Tim Sheedy.
Nearly two-thirds of tablets in Australia are iPads while 32 per cent operate on Google’s Android system. Mr Sheedy said tablet sales are more likely to be driven by Android devices from now.
The findings mirror those by research firm Telsyte, which predicted last September the iPad would be toppled in Australia within two years. Gartner this year reported Android tablets surpassed Apple globally in 2013.
“Devices running Android generally have lower price points and broader ranges of features, functionalities, and sizes, making Android the platform driving mass tablet adoption,” Mr Sheedy said in a report.
“In fact, we predict that Android will become the dominant player in the Australian tablet market over the next 18 months.”
The most popular Android tablets have mainly been made by Samsung. Other suppliers like Google, Sony, Asus, Amazon and Acer are becoming more popular.
The report found just under 30 per cent of Australian adults on the internet use tablets, which is similar to smartphone adoption rates from three to four years ago.
It said it would take a few years for tablet use to catch up to the 69 per cent smartphone adoption rate expected by the end of 2014.
Differences in the way consumers are using tablets in comparison with smartphones meant sales were slower, Forrester’s report found. Many tablets are shared whereas phones are an individual device. Some of the factors that have driven tablet prices down in other countries – such as content-sponsored devices from Amazon.com, supermarkets, and booksellers – had yet to happen on a large scale in Australia.
Microsoft’s attempts to break into the tablet market with its Windows 8 operating system had so far had a limited impact, however Forrester believed from anecdotal evidence that Windows 8 would emerge as the third tablet operating system behind Apple and Android.
In the study Windows 8 tablets were used by 4 per cent of men and 6 per cent of women.
Popular Windows tablets include Microsoft’s Surface 2 and an increasing number of devices from Sony, Acer, Asus, Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, Panasonic and Samsung.
“It’s still safe [for app developers] to take a wait-and-see approach to Windows 8 – but be ready to act quickly if penetration exceeds 15 per cent of your customer base,” the report said.
“Two trends will drive Windows 8 adoption: corporations upgrading to Windows 8 and providing touchscreen devices to their staff, and individuals purchasing the devices themselves. These will combine to provide a significant boost to this platform – so developers won’t be able to ignore it for too much longer.”
As part of its study Forrester looked at the demographic makeup of local tablet users and found that while 59 per cent of all Australian online tablet users use iPads running on Apple’s iOS operating system, that number jumped to 72 per cent among women.
Only 20 per cent of female users had Android-based tablets, with 8 per cent using other platforms like Windows. Male tablet users, meanwhile, were found to be evenly split between iOS and Android.
Forrester said this data was important for app developers to bear in mind when creating new products and services.
“To date, most Australian companies developing tablet apps have pursued a single-OS strategy, as Apple has dominated the market. But today’s reality is that 46 per cent of online adult males use iPads and 44 per cent use Android tablets,” the report said.
“Google’s tablet OS is very popular among Australian males – so continuing with a one-platform tablet OS strategy means that you will likely miss half of Australian adult male tablet users.”