A new market report from analyst firm Futuresource Consulting predicts tablet sales will see a significant increase in the United States and Western Europe over next few years, with overall consumer ownership increasing by as much as 200 percent.
Futuresource reports that tablets reached an install base of nearly 52 million units in the consumer market by the end of 2011, and it expects that number to increase three-fold to 152 million units by 2013, with the majority of that growth occurring within the U.S.
Tablets are also becoming an increasingly important force in the app market, and according to the report, these platforms made up roughly 10 percent of all mobile app downloads in 2011 -- this percentage is on track to double by 2016.
In addition, Futuresource notes that tablet owners are more likely to pay for apps than smartphone users, making that platform a particularly lucrative market for game and app development.
In terms of the divide between Apple's iPad and competing tablet platforms, Futuresource predicts that Android manufacturers like Samsung, Amazon, and Asus will begin to catch up to Apple within the next few years, and produce devices that close the gap between iOS and Android platforms.