Media tablet shipments exceeded netbook shipments for the first time this year in 2Q. Some 13.6 million media tablets were shipped in this year’s second quarter as compared to 7.3 million netbooks. Netbook shipments for 1Q totaled 8.4 million, while media tablet shipments totaled 6.4 million, according to ABI Research.

Apple’s iPad accounted for 68% of total tablet shipments in 2Q, according to ABI’s, “Tablets, Netbooks, and Mobile CE Market Data.”

ABI expects that consumers’ preference for tablets over netbooks will be a new trend. Consumers are choosing tablets over netbooks for several reasons, according to ABI.

“Media tablets are perceived to be easy to use, compared to the keyboard and mouse interface of a netbook computer. Those who have avoided PCs because they are difficult to use – think the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation and older – see media tablets as an opportunity to re-engage with Internet access,” Jeff Orr, ABI’s group director, Mobile Devices, stated.

“Cost, however, is certainly not a reason driving tablet interest, as the average media tablet costs approximately $600 and the average netbook is only about half of that.”

Some 32 million netbooks and 60 million tablets will be shipped worldwide this year, ABI expects. Though tablet sales are easily outgrowing netbook shipments, netbooks “still hold interest in underserved countries, where PC penetration to the home, along with broadband services, are not widely available,” ABI notes. Media tablet shipments, on the other hand, primarily cater to the early-adopter consumer market segments in the U.S., Western Europe, Japan and South Korea.

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