Research | News
Report: Tablets Soar as PCs Sag
Global tablet sales continue to climb in 2013 as PC shipments drop
according to a pair of new forecasts from market research firm International Data
PC shipments will drop by 10.1 percent for the year, down from a
previous forecast of 9.7 percent, "and by far the most severe yearly
contraction on record," according to an IDC news release.
Looking further out, IDC said that total shipments will continue to
decline by an estimated 3.8 percent in 2014 before "turning slightly
positive" and remaining just above 2008 numbers at about 305 million
units per year in 2017.
The consumer market is driving the majority of the current decline,
dropping nearly 15 percent this year as compared to only a five percent
drop in the commercial market which is being bolstered by more stable
planning, less disruption from tablets and replacement of Windows XP
machines before 2014 when support for them will end.
"However," according to information released by the company, "the
long-term outlook for the two markets is not significantly different,
with a small decline projected for both consumer and commercial
segments in 2014 with near flat growth in the longer term."
"Perhaps the chief concern for future PC demand is a lack of reasons to
replace an older system," said Jay Chou, senior research analyst,
Worldwide Quarterly PC Trackers
at IDC, in a
prepared statement. "While
IDC research finds that the PC still remains the primary computing
device — for example, PCs are used more hours per day than tablets or
phones — PC usage is nonetheless declining each year as more devices
become available. And despite industry efforts, PC usage has not moved
significantly beyond consumption and productivity tasks to
differentiate PCs from other devices. As a result, PC lifespans
continue to increase, thereby limiting market growth."
Tablet sales, according to the company, continue to boom, and should
reach 221.3 million units sold for the year, a surge of 53.5 percent
over 2012 sales.
That growth will continue in the near future, albeit at a slower pace,
said IDC, which predicted sales of the devices to increase an
additional 22.2 percent in 2014 as they slide to single digit growth in
2014 with a predicted volume of 386.3 million units.
Google's Android operating system is the biggest winner in this year's
boom, with a
market share of 60.8 percent, up from last year's share of 52 percent.
The company predicts that share to drop by 2017, though only by one
Apple's iOS, on the other hand, saw a nearly identical decrease in
market share, falling to just 35 percent from last year's share of 45.6
percent. IDC predicts that decline to slow over the next few years with
iOS grabbing a projected share of 30.6 percent in 2017.
Windows tablets improved to 3.4 percent of the market this year from
just .9 percent last year. IDC said they expect the operating system to
account t for 10.2 percent of all tablets sold by 2017.
"One key factor to watch going forward is the mix of small versus large
tablets," according to a company news release. "The market has trended
toward small tablets in a big way over the last 24 months, but the rise
of large phones could well push consumers back toward larger tablets as
the difference between a 6-inch smartphone and a 7-inch tablet isn't
great enough to warrant purchasing both. Apple's launch of the iPad
Air, a much thinner and lighter version of its 9.7-inch product, could
herald another market transition back toward larger screens, presuming
consumers are willing to pay the higher costs associated with bigger
"In some markets consumers are already making the choice to buy a large
smartphone rather than buying a small tablet, and as a result we've
lowered our long-term forecast," said Tom Mainelli, IDC research
director, tablets, in a prepared statement. "Meanwhile, in mature
markets like the United States where tablets have been shipping in
large volumes since 2010 and are already well established, we're less
concerned about big phones cannibalizing shipments and more worried
about market saturation."
Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.