Digitimes is predicting that global shipments of ereaders will rise to 28.9 million units in 2012, an increase of 31.4% over 2011. The US is expected to continue to be the major market for ereaders.
Digitimes also seems to think that if ereader prices fall again next year, it will be due to pressure from the tablet PC market rather than from competition within the dedicated ereader market. This is because Barnes & Noble and Kobo, the Kindle’s biggest competitors, would have trouble reducing the prices of their ereaders again to follow the Kindle’s price much lower if Amazon were to further reduce it. The other ereader manufacturers cannot match Amazon’s ability to sell its ereader hardware as a loss leader.
Digitimes does see the possibility of the pricing of the Kindle Fire tablet being reduced to as low as $149 to undercut other lower priced tablets. If this happens, Amazon would likely also lower the price of the Kindle ereaders to maintain product differentiation and help prevent the various members of the Kindle Family from cannibalizing each other’s sales.
In a separate report, Digitimes says that Amazon has again increased production of the Kindle Fire to more than five million units.