Stack of tabletsA few years ago, tablets were merely a blip on consumer radars. Today, they’re one of the hottest and fastest growing markets in the tech world. According to Transparency Market Research, 67 million tablet units were sold worldwide in 2011 alone – and that figure is expected to almost quadruple by the end of 2015 to 248.6 million. In addition, smartphone sales reached 468.9 million units in 2011, a 66.7 percent increase year-over-year. That figure is predicted to reach an incredible 1 billion in 2015, with Asia anticipated to account for almost 40 percent of the market.

The driving force behind the increase in tablet popularity has been Apple’s iPad. In fact, the device helped the tablet market grow by  276.5 percent in 2011 compared to the year prior. TMR said that form factor plays a huge role in consumer decisions, revealing that tablets in the 8 – 10-inch range were the most popular. Tablet adoption grew most amongst the consumer segment – as expected – while businesses preferred “communicators.”

Smartphone sales were said to have reached 469.9 million units in 2011, growing by 66.7 percent compared to 2010. Q4 smartphones sales alone surpasses the entirety of 2008, TMR said. “This leap in sales came on account of consumer as well as enterprise adoption of iPhone 4S, which posted 36.1 million units sales to end user in Q42011 alone.”

We’ve already seen how incredibly popular smartphones are, and it sounds like tablets are following suit, particularly because of how quickly technology advances. Post PC era? Transparency Market Research’s data suggests were heading toward that path.

[via BGR]