Will Apple’s iPad be priced out of the market?

Although Apple remains the undisputed market leader in the lucrative tablet space, the buzz created by the iPad has paved the way for numerous vendors to join the race, especially in the lower price segment.

As such, the market for sub-$400 media tablets is expected to experience significant growth over the next five years – occupying more than 60% of the market share by 2016, while demand for the $400+ segment is projected to shrink.

“The majority of new entrant media tablet models have been in the sub-$400 segment that focuses on growth markets like India and China,” ABI Research analyst Jeff Orr explained in an industry note obtained by TG Daily. 

“The strong wave of growth in this segment over the next few years is expected to be driven by the adoption in emerging markets.”

According to Orr, wide aspect display media tablets (nine inches and above) are still favored in the market and accounted for more than 75% of the total media tablet volume in 201 – which is mostly attributed to the Apple iPad 2. 

However, the trend in coming years is expected to favor display sizes between seven and nine inches, as smaller-sized media tablets ultimately provide better portability options for end-users.

Similarly, eReaders are also on an accelerated growth track, with more than 30 models currently available by major vendors. Indeed, 2011 has seen a healthy 33% growth in the eReader space, while the market for total shipments remains on track to increase by over 20% in 2012.

“Availability of competing models increases options for consumers and will help to boost eReader adoption,” said ABI Research analyst Aishwarya Singh.

“[Nevertheless], the slower pace of digitization of local content will be the key market inhibitor for adoption of eBook Readers, as well as media tablets, in the emerging markets.”