Tablet PCs Set to Outsell Notebooks in Four Years - Research

Success of Media Tablets Causes Analysts to Alter Predictions

by Anton Shilov
07/05/2012 | 09:39 PM

As media tablets gain more traction on the market and new players enter the scene, analysts have to revise their forecasts concerning shipments of mobile computers in different form-factors in the coming years. If earlier this year NPD DisplaySearch predicted that mobile PC shipments will reach 815 million units, of which around 47% will be tablets, by 2017, then today DisplaySearch predicts 809 million mobile PCs in 2017 with tablets accounting for 51.4%.


“Consumer preference for mobile computing devices is shifting from notebook to tablet PCs, particularly in mature markets,” said Richard Shim, senior analyst at NPD DisplaySearch.

Tablet shipments will surpass notebook shipments already in 2016, according to the latest NPD DisplaySearch forecast report. Overall mobile PC shipments will grow from 347 million units in 2012 to over 809 million units by 2017. While notebook PC shipments are expected to increase from 208 million units in 2012 to 393 million units by 2017, tablet PC shipments are expected to grow from 121 million units to 416 million units in this period, for a compound annual growth rate of 28%.

Building upon convenience-oriented features including instant-on capability, long battery life and extreme portability, tablet PCs are expected to evolve in form factor and performance, making them a compelling alternative to notebook PCs, according to DisplaySearch. Tablet PCs are expected to incorporate multi-core processors, increasingly stable operating systems, growing app libraries and higher resolution displays.

In addition, notebook PCs are also evolving to meet the challenge from tablet PCs. Thinner form-factors, higher resolution displays and touch functionality features are expected to increase. The notebook PC market will remain the largest part of the mobile PC market during the forecast period, accounting for 60% of mobile PC shipments in 2012, declining to 49% by 2017.

A key driver for tablet PC growth is adoption in mature markets (including North America, Japan and Western Europe), which will account for 66% of shipments in 2012 and remain in the 60% range throughout the forecast period. Tablet PC shipments into mature markets will grow from 80 million units in 2012 to 254 million units by 2017.

“While the lines between tablet and notebook PCs are blurring, we expect mature markets to be the primary regions for tablet PC adoption. New entrants are tending to launch their initial products in mature markets. Services and infrastructure needed to create compelling new usage models are often better established in mature markets,” said Mr. Shim.