Worldwide e-reader sales to reach 11mn in 2011

By : |December 7, 2010 0

BANGALORE, INDIA: Worldwide connected e-reader sales to end users are forecast to total 6.6 million units in 2010, up 79.8 per cent from 2009 sales of 3.6 million units, says Gartner, Inc.

In 2011, worldwide e-reader sales are projected to surpass 11 million units, a 68.3 per cent increase from 2010, said a press release.

The report added that the market for e-reading devices – portable devices that use an E Ink, e-paper or similar display technology – has become crowded and is at risk of commoditisation due to developments in adjacent markets, such as those for media tablets.

"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.
He added that North America will remain a key market through 2014, although its dominance will decline significantly as regions such as Western Europe and Asia/Pacific become the leading locations for growth. Growth in North American and other markets will remain constrained by the success of media tablets, such as the Apple iPad.

Although three vendors dominate today’s e-reader market (Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Sony), new competitors may well appear in the future with low-cost devices subsidized by content owners, the report added.

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 colour screens) and relatively inexpensive retail prices.

"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.

He added that e-reader vendors will also need to offer lower prices than for more fully featured media tablets. This will entail smaller profit margins and potential hardware subsidies at retail, and/or the ability to obtain lower-priced components.

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