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Tablet Shipments Double in Education, Make Up 35% of All Client Device Purchases

Tablets accounted for more than one-third of all client devices shipped to education institutions in the United States in the last calendar year. That volume represents a doubling of tablet purchases from the previous year, according to a new report released last last month by market research firm IDC. And the growth won't stop there.

The report, Tablets Changing the Education Sector in the United States, Major Momentum Underway, found that overall client device shipments to U.S. education institutions hit 8.5 million total units in calendar 2012, up 15.3 percent from the previous year. Those devices include notebooks, tablets, and desktops. But shipments of tablets were up much more — a full 103 percent year-over-year, representing about 3 million total units, or 35.4 percent of the total. In 2011, they represented 19.4 percent of the total.

According to IDC, tablets are just getting started.

"While tablet sales to the education sector doubled from 2011 to 2012, we are only seeing the beginning of a much greater push that is likely to last for years," said David Daoud, research director, personal computers at IDC, in a prepared statement. "As a result, we remain highly optimistic about sustained tablet growth in education, particularly as prices decline due to greater competition."

What's driving that growth? According to IDC: "The impetus to go digital in the education sector can be found among virtually all U.S. education institutions as well as around the world. Government mandates from all levels to digitize education, the relatively low cost of tablets, and a proliferation of funding sources are providing an enormous push to tablet adoption, effectively bringing the concept of one device per student closer to reality."

Part of that success is also being fueled by manufacturers that work with institutions "to execute strategies that encompass educational content as well as the content delivery platforms. In this context, IDC expects to see a new set of stakeholders emerge as new ideas and partnerships enable them to offer more than just hardware."

In particular, according to IDC's Tom Mainelli, research director, tablets, K-12 schools will be at the forefront of that effort.

"Tablet vendors that expect to compete in the education market need to be thinking beyond just hardware speeds and feeds," he said. "We expect K-12 in particular to be at the center of new innovations where partnerships between hardware makers, content owners, solution providers and others will lead to many new educational opportunities."

In total, the 8.5 million client devices shipped to education institutions in 2012 represented about $5 billion in equipment.

The complete report, Tablets Changing the Education Sector in the United States, Major Momentum Underway, runs $500 and can be accessed on IDC's site.


About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .

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