Steve Jobs’s “post-PC” era is shaping up to be more than just a marketing buzzword. Estimates from market research firm NPD Group from earlier this year suggested tablet shipments would climb gradually as PC growth slows, eventually topping notebook PC shipments in 2016. According to new projections from Digitimes’ research arm, however, this imminent changing of the guard is set to take place ahead of schedule.
Digitimes recently issued an aggressive forecast. The site estimates that channel sales of tablets will grow 38.3% annually in 2013 to reach 210 million units, topping laptop PC shipments for the first time. The estimates include 140 million big-brand slates and 70 million “white-box” tablets launched by smaller off-brand vendors.
The site expects Apple (AAPL) to remain the top tablet vendor in the world, though its market share excluding white-box tablet sales is seen falling to 55.6% from 60% in 2012. Including off-brand tablets, Android is estimated to become the most popular tablet OS in 2013, with total shipments growing 40.2% year-over-year to 121 million units.