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Australians and New Zealanders connecting with WiFi-only tablets
Posted on 21-Mar-2012 11:44 | Filed under: News

For the first time in 2011, the WiFi-only media tablet models in ANZ exceeded the combined WiFi/3G device shipments in Q4, taking up 54% of the 644,000 units shipped in the quarter, according to IDC’s A/NZ Quarterly Media Tablet and eReader Tracker (2011 Q4).

“Most new entrants started off by introducing Wi-Fi only media tablets in early 2011 and this has gradually increased the WiFi-only unit share. At the same time, the WiFi/3G unit share started decreasing after the low cost media tablets such as Optus MyTab and Telstra T-Touch were discontinued,” said Yee-Kuan Lau, Market Analyst for IDC ANZ. “The cheaper price point of WiFi-only models appealed as a gift option during the Christmas season and some vendors took advantage of that by introducing price promotions.”

Looking back at 2011, the ANZ media tablet market surpassed the 1 million mark, ending the year with 1.67 million units shipped. Australia contributed to 91.3% of the 2011 total shipments and the rest went to New Zealand. In the second half of 2011, ANZ media tablet shipments grew by 147% YoY compared to the second half of 2010.

“The launch of Android media tablets coupled with Apple’s channel expansion strategy helped grow the market size in 2011. This has introduced greater options to consumers by providing different screen sizes to reach out to a larger audience . Moving forward, the growth will be accelerated as these devices find their way into organisations while enterprise mobility is to come of age in ANZ,” said Ms. Lau.

In Q4, approximately 587,000 media tablets were shipped into the Australian market, out of which 15% were Android-based media tablets with Acer making it to the top position by a small margin, followed closely by Motorola and ASUS. Samsung, which rejoined the crowd only in mid-December, managed to climb to fourth place in the Android media tablet market driven by the free publicity from the media coverage of a well-publicised Federal Court case against Apple over patents.

Apple iPad 2, which took up almost 84% unit share of the total market in Australia, grew 35% sequentially in Q4, which was driven by its channel expansion strategy and additional retail stores. While the decision to sell the iPad 2 for the first time through Australian telco operators was not a key growth factor, it has helped to increase foot traffic in telco stores and subsequently encourage consumers to consider purchasing or reviewing media tablet offerings from a telco operator.

In New Zealand, 57,000 media tablets were shipped and Android-based media tablets took up 27% of that total in Q4 2011. Contrary to the Australian market, Samsung stood out as the leader in the Android-based media tablets segment. The vendor was able to sell its Galaxy Tab 10.1 that was blocked for a period in Australia by the Federal Court while also leveraging on its popularity in the Android smartphone market. Apple's iPad 2 captured 71% of the Q4 total in New Zealand but with a slower sequential growth of 15.6% compared to Australia partly due to the fact that Apple has no direct retail presence in the country.

IDC expects the Australian media tablet market to expand 50% year-on-year in the full year of 2012, while the New Zealand market is expected to bounce back from the market impacts of the Christchurch earthquake with 70% year-on-year growth. Apple's iOS is expected to maintain its dominance in both markets and retain its growth momentum, especially with the introduction of the new iPad on March 7. However, the incompatibility of the new iPad’s 4G connectivity with Australia’s 4G network 1800 MHz spectrum may provide a competitive edge to those media tablets that are compatible.

“In 2012, vendors will start to mature in their go-to-market strategies and expand their portfolio, bringing in greater variety of form factors into the market,” Lau said. “Meanwhile, the introduction of Wifi/4G media tablets will encourage more purchases of these devices through telecommunication operators other than retailers in Australia .”

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