The tech research firm expects tablet sales to climb 28 percent this year to $64 billion. In terms of shipments, ABI projected a jump of 38 percent to 150 million in 2013.
"The convenience and mobility benefits afforded by tablet computers are showing no signs of slowing interest after record unit shipments and revenues were reported by device vendors in 2012," ABI said.
The tablet growth rate contrasts sharply with the traditional computing market, though PC shipments should still be about double the number of tablets in 2013. International Data Corp. last month projected but the tech research firm has since warned it likely will lower the forecast because of dismal first-quarter sales. Tablet sales are within the next couple years.
PC sales have been weak for quite some time, with quarterly results from computer and semiconductor makers reflecting the hard times. The sector is not only being hurt by the weak economy, but also by consumers opting for mobile devices instead of traditional PCs. Microsoft's latest OS was expected to boost sales, but analysts now believe Windows 8 is actually slowing PC sales.
Tech research firms Gartner and IDC earlier this week said first-quarter PC shipmentsthe worst since IDC started tracking the figures in 1994. Quarterly shipments fell below 80 million units for the first time since the second quarter of 2009, Gartner added. Those results, the fourth quarterly drop in a row, raise questions about the future of the PC industry and what traditional players -- like Microsoft -- will do to adapt.
ABI today noted that Apple continues to rule the tablet market, but "the tide is definitely turning toward Android-based tablets," such as those from Samsung. About 60 percent of last year's tablet shipments used Apple's iOS operating system software while 37 percent used Android. The remaining 3 percent were Windows, BlackBerry, or unidentified other operating systems.
Samsung is one of the most likely companies to challenge Apple in tablets, ABI said, with the company's success in smartphones, Android, and the
"A well-executed Samsung tablet strategy could double the company's market share this year," said ABI analyst Jeff Orr. He added that there are few "fast followers" able to emulate Samsung's position, suggesting Android itself needs more innovation to close the gap with Apple.