Home iPad Sales in 2011: 18-25 Million or More, Say Analysts

iPad Sales in 2011: 18-25 Million or More, Say Analysts

We already know the iPad is popular – it sold 2 million units in its first 60 days, and then 3 million by the 80-day point. But how big of an impact will the iPad have in 6 months? A year from now? Analysts are starting to weigh in on this topic, and the numbers they’re coming up with are big. Very big.

According to Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi, Apple could sell 25 million iPads in 2011. Barclays Capital, meanwhile, predicts 28 million tablets will be sold in 2011, with Apple owning the majority of that market for several years.

Reported by Digital Daily, Sacconaghi, in a note to clients, said the iPad could sell “5 million iPads or more in FY 11.” He determined this by extrapolating sales trajectories of the iPhone, iPod Touch and netbooks. However, he offered a more conservative estimate of 18 million, saying that “product use-cases and competitive offerings are very nascent.” He also underscored that the firm does not have a high conviction in the estimate for those reasons.

Meanwhile, only yesterday, Barclays Capital was estimating similar numbers for the tablet industry: 28 million units by 2011 and Apple holding onto a 75% market share throughout next year.

New Estimates Much Higher Than Earlier Ones

What’s interesting about both these predictions (and, as always, analysts predications are taken with the proverbial grain of salt around here), is how much higher they are than the earlier estimates that came out around the time of the iPad’s launch.

In February, we rounded up the current analyst estimates and, at that time, firms were predicting unit sales of 3.75 million to 9 million for FY 2011. Specifically:

  • Yair Reiner, Oppenheimer: 4 million units in FY 2011
  • Scott Craig, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch: 3.75 million in FY 2011
  • Keith Bachman, BMO Capital: 5.5 million units in FY 2011
  • Ben Reitzes, Barclays Capital:  7.3 million in FY 2011
  • Gene Munster, Piper Jaffray: 8 million units in FY 2011
  • Katy Huberty, Morgan Stanley: 9 million units in FY 2011

How does one get from (the arguably decent) showing of 3.75 million units in FY 2011 to the (somewhat earth-shattering) figure of 25 million+?

Part of that jump may be attributable to the iPad’s in-roads in the enterprise. As reported yesterday by our own Alex Williams, Well Fargo took two years to support the iPhone, but approved the iPad in the span of a few weeks. And Mercedes is thinking of purchasing iPads for its 350 U.S. dealerships.

But enterprise sales alone can’t account for what’s clearly a seismic shift in the personal computing landscape. Perhaps it’s like Steve Jobs, Apple CEO said: tablets are leading the way to the “post-PC” era (And of course by “tablets” he meant “iPad”). Jobs wasn’t just referring to the death of Windows computers, either, but to the very form factor our generation has grown up knowing as “the computer.” A box, screen and keyboard, which then became the flip-to-open notebook and later its tiny sibling, the netbook. And while many of us can’t personally imagine life without a hardware-based keyboard, the majority truly “personal” computing can be done on a touchscreen alone. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, email, Web surfing and everything else that occupies a good bit of people’s non-work related computing time rarely requires the amount of keyboard input that necessitates the additional hardware.

For many mainstream computer users, the iPad suffices.

Yahoo! Reveals iPad User Base is More Gender-Balanced…and Much, Much Bigger

Recent findings from media company Yahoo! support the claim of iPad’s growing mainstream popularity: the company today revealed a follow-up to its early reports on the iPad user base, an analysis based on visits to Yahoo! network properties. As expected, the first wave of iPad users skewed heavily male, as is often the case when new tech gadgets arrive on scene. But now, the gender ratio is more balanced, moving from a 2:1 to 3:2 male to female ratio. The company has also seen a 7x increase in the number of users visiting Yahoo! services via the iPad, another indicator of the device’s popularity for the above-referenced “personal” computing. And given the more balanced mix of iPad users, interest in other Yahoo! properties beyond Flickr, News, Finance and Sports has also increased. Yahoo! Groups, for example, is up 28%, Shopping is up 25% and Travel is up 22%.

On a personal note, we didn’t need analysts to tell us the iPad would be a hit: the first weekend with the device had us convinced: the iPad is the first real family computer. But to see numbers now associated with the phenomenon is still impressive.

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