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iPad, low-cost Android devices to push tablet sales ahead of notebooks this year

iPad Android Tablet Shipments

The PC industry is expected to see negative growth for the second consecutive year as consumers continue to favor tablets over notebooks. Research firm IDC forecasts that worldwide tablet shipments will surpass notebooks in 2013, and will grow to top all PC shipments by 2015. Tablet shipments are expected to grow 58.7% year-over-year to 229.3 million units, up from 144.5 million in 2012, and the average price of tablets is estimated to decline -10.8% to $381 due to the rise of low-cost Android models. By comparison, the average price of a PC has nearly doubled in 2013 to $635.

The 8-inch to 11-inch tablet market was once the most dominant, however the popularity of the iPad mini, Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 have resulted in the sub-8-inch market exploding and now accounting for 55% of all shipments. IDC expects smaller and cheaper tablets to remain popular in the years to come, accounting for 57% of shipments in 2017.

IDC’s press release follows below.

IDC Forecasts Worldwide Tablet Shipments to Surpass Portable PC Shipments in 2013, Total PC Shipments in 2015

28 May 2013
SAN MATEO, Calif., May 28, 2013 – According to a new forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, tablet shipments are expected to grow 58.7% year-over-year in 2013 reaching 229.3 million units, up from 144.5 million units last year. IDC now predicts tablet shipments will exceed those of portable PCs this year, as the slumping PC market is expected to see negative growth for the second consecutive year. In addition, IDC expects tablet shipments to outpace the entire PC market (portables and desktops combined) by 2015. (A press release summarizing IDC’s latest PC market forecast can be found here.)

“What started as a sign of tough economic times has quickly shifted to a change in the global computing paradigm with mobile being the primary benefactor,” said Ryan Reith, Program Manager for IDC’s Mobility Trackers. “Tablets surpassing portables in 2013, and total PCs in 2015, marks a significant change in consumer attitudes about compute devices and the applications and ecosystems that power them. IDC continues to believe that PCs will have an important role in this new era of computing, especially among business users. But for many consumers, a tablet is a simple and elegant solution for core use cases that were previously addressed by the PC.”

While Apple has been at the forefront of the tablet revolution, the current market expansion has been increasingly fueled by low-cost Android devices. In 2013, the worldwide average selling price (ASP) for tablets is expected to decline -10.8% to $381. In comparison, the ASP of a PC in 2013 is nearly double that at $635. IDC expects tablet prices to decline further, which will allow vendors to deliver a viable computing experience into the hands of many more people at price points the PC industry has strived to meet for years.

“Apple’s success in the education market has proven that tablets can be used as more than just a content consumption or gaming device,” said Jitesh Ubrani, Research Analyst for the Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. “These devices are learning companions, and as tablet prices continue to drop, the dream of having a PC for every child gets replaced with the reality that we can actually provide a tablet for every child.”

In addition to lower prices, another major shift in the tablet market has occurred around screen sizes. Apple’s first generation iPad, which included a 9.7-inch display, was perceived by many as the sweet spot for tablets. That is, until 7-inch Android-based tablets began to gain traction in the market. Apple responded with the iPad mini in the fourth quarter of 2012, and in the space of two quarters the sub-8-inch category exploded to overtake the larger-sized segment in terms of total shipments.