One of the best reports published in 2011 on the tablet market came from the research team at Morgan Stanley. If you have not seen it you can download a pdf version.  The report presented some optimistic forecasts for tablet adoption and looked in detail at the impact of tablet adoption on the global IT software and hardware industries. On 31 May Morgan Stanley updated this report and it makes for interesting reading. Morgan Stanley conducted a second tablet survey in May 2012, reaching 7,500 respondents in the US, UK, Germany, France and Japan, which makes a change from surveys that tend only to focus on the US market. Purchase intentions indicated that tablet shipments will increase to 133 million in 2012 and 216 million in 2013, or 57% and 112% larger than in the 2011 report.  The company expects tablet shipments to exceed notebook shipments in 2013 and almost match total PC shipments by 2015.

In the opinion of Morgan Stanley Microsoft Windows 8 with Office has the potential to drive tablet market growth and take share. It notes that over the last two years, Apple iPad has dominated the market with 62% unit share, while Google Android-based tablets have had mixed results. Morgan Stanley comments that Microsoft has made a lot of progress since the last survey with its Metro user interface and that the results indicate that consumers, especially those considering their first tablet purchase, believe Microsoft Office is a key feature, suggesting Windows 8 with Office could overtake Android as the second largest platform in the tablet market.

For Morgan Stanley one of the biggest surprises versus a year ago was the significant tablet adoption in the enterprise.  According to the survey 6% of employers either purchased or subsidized survey respondents’ tablet for work use and another 10% are allowed to access their corporate network with a tablet purchased on their own.   The report then goes on to say that 65% of companies currently purchase tablets for some employees while nearly 50% allow employee-owned tablets on their network, but quite how those two sets of  figures relate to each other I’m not quite sure at present.

To me this analysis suggests that tablet devices could have an even bigger impact on the enterprise market than smartphones, and if your organisation does not yet have a strategy for both corporate and BYOD tablets then now might be a very good time to start developing one. At present the full report (of which I have a copy and on which this blog is based) is not yet up on the Morgan Stanley Perspectives site. Keep watching – it’s well worth reading but remember Morgan Stanley is an investment bank.

Martin White