PCs vs. Tablets: Tablet shipments to outpace PCs by 2015

By on September 12, 2013, 12:15 PM
idc, pcs, tablet, smartphone, tablet shipments

Back when the original iPad hit the scene, virtually everyone was questioning its purpose and place in the market. Was a fourth device (the others being a desktop PC, notebook and smartphone) really necessary? As it turns out, the answer to that question is a resounding “yes.” It may have taken some time but tablets have now solidified their place among our other tech gear and have created an entirely new ecosystem to go along with it.

The success of tablets has come at a price, however: cannibalizing PC sales.

In fact, tablet shipments are expected to outpace those of PCs in the fourth quarter of this year and by 2015, annual tablet shipments will top PC shipments according to research firm IDC. Over the next 12-18 months, IDC believes large smartphones (phablets) will begin to eat into the smaller-sized tablet market.

Bob O’Donnell, program vice president for displays and clients at IDC, said the device world has seen several iterations of cannibalization impacting different categories. The last few years have focused on tablets cannibalizing PC sales.

Looking at the hard numbers, total PC shipments accounted for 28.7 percent of the smart connected device market last year while tablets were responsible for 11.8 percent and smartphones garnered 59.5 percent. Looking ahead to 2017, PC sales are forecasted to drop to 13 percent while tablets will account for 16.5 percent and 70.5 percent, respectively.

The good news for consumers is that as demand shifts from PCs to smartphones and tablets, so too will the average selling price of the collective market from $462 last year to $323 by 2017.

User Comments: 13

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3 people like this | TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I've had my tablet for about 6 months now and I can see why they're selling. They're convenient and obviously very portable. But bottom line, if I'm going to do ANY sort of serious computing or gaming, it has to be done on a PC.

psycros psycros said:

I've had my tablet for about 6 months now and I can see why they're selling. They're convenient and obviously very portable. But bottom line, if I'm going to do ANY sort of serious computing or gaming, it has to be done on a PC.

Other than very casual browsing or e-reading I can't find any real use for the things. My phone can handle 90% of my mobile needs and is better for interacting with web sites thanks to its physical keyboard and trackpad.

Guest said:

Its not only gaming, but content creation. Every try waiting a 5000 word essay on a tablet, and god forbid a smartphone! Window PC's need to focus on the two areas that they are made for, Content creation and Gaming.

Nobina Nobina said:

Tablet is just a smartphone with bigger screen, I still prefer smartphones over tablets, but they are both inferior to PC.

Nothing can replace a monitor a keyboard and a mouse.

MilwaukeeMike said:

The success of tablets has come at a price, however: cannibalizing PC sales.

Cannibalize - to eat one's own. Tablets and PCs are different, they can't 'cannibalize' each other. The iPhone 5S will cannibalize sales of the iPhone 5.

The question is, are tablets affecting PC sales? Like @TomSEA says... we still need PCs for many tasks. To say tablets are replacing PCs means that people are typing a lot on a tablet and kids are doing homework on a tablet. Sure, I bet some are, but it's not ideal. The tablet is a secondary device. Very few people own a tablet who don't also have a PC.

Tablet sales have gone up because tablets are cool and new and fun to use. PC sales have gone down because almost every household already has one, and upgrading a PC doesn't offer any benefit to a non-gamer. I don't think there's a big connection between the trends.

treeski treeski said:

With each of these articles, I'm still wondering what the heck their definition of a tablet is. Do Windows based tablets fall into that category or mobile PC? What about hybrids? The lines between devices are blurred and are just going to get blurrier.

A year ago I was starting to think about a cheap laptop to purchase. Earlier this year I went with a Windows tablet with an attachable keyboard.

NeoFlux said:

I bought my wife Acer tablet ~2 years ago: we sold old Asus netbook and decided then that tablet is perfect replacement. Even better in some cases. Just asked her if she would made the same decision after using it. She said "let's give tablet to the kids and buy me a normal sized laptop".

1 person liked this | lipe123 said:

You know these types of headlines really bothers me with the doom and gloom undertones for the desktop.

Might as well go: Cars vs Planes: Car sales continue to out pace that of planes.

Cause thats what a tablet is to a desktop. You can't really compare the two like they are aimed at the same market.

wastedkill said:

Why is this article alive? Seems like its trying to say tablets will replace pc's which infact it never will nothing ever will so I dont see point in this I would love a surface pro but they cost far too much but besides that this article is useless.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

For the power the desktop and laptop still hold for me. I have owned 45 tablets including smartphones since 2010. Desktop can't go into the bathroom but a laptop can but still the risk of being near water. Tablet comes in handy really doesn't need a lot to playback media with it some amp speakers power by the tablet own battery through USB works wonders. Smartphone is more for calling and when your on the run you can get into PC files where you could drag your desktop and that's why the laptop can move around but today laptops vs tablet as most have the tablet to read books off Amazon Kindle.

It's easier to mount a tablet in your SUV, truck, car, etc.. then to mount a laptop yeah you could police do it. Still you can remove the old stereo radio and mount most tablets with a special kit. Tablet could be inserted and remove in most vehicles to control the system media and navigation if you are very creative. Some have them in F150 trucks.

So tablets are going to be used more has they get better. Android is far more popular, but again pushing ads with all free software some don't but most do to make money. Windows 8 does the same some what.

People will still buy next gen desktop mostly huge touch screen all-in-one today. Laptops are now ultra on some. Market whatever you want but tablets will still sell more if they're on sale though.

Arris Arris said:

I would think that a lot of tablet sales are to people that only ever used a PC or laptop casually. Anyone that games(more than just Flash based puzzle games etc.) or does video editing, 3D modelling, photoshop, software development, or anything else more productive than reading web pages, instagram and facebook will have a tablet as a secondary device. I myself find that I'm happy with desktop, laptop and phone. Tablet form factor for me is not a necessity. Unless my wife wants one I won't be investing in one any time soon.

Guest said:

The question is not whether the tablet is really necessary. The question now "Is the PC really necessary?"

For a large majority of the American population the PC is not necessary. The PC was forced on the population due to the fact that low cost, very low power mobile computing was not available.

Companies like Intel and Microsoft had less that zero interest in low cost, low power or mobile computing.

It took Jobs to see what American population really wanted / needed. Mobile computing power is increasing at an exponential rate. Couple that with increasing cloud services, the PC will die a rapid death. Laptops will continue on for a time, but in a different form.

Many analysts completely missed the significance of a 64 bit ARM in a smart phone from Apple. From a technological point of view, the electronics industry will be going thru a sea change with the introduction of the 1st working 64 bit ARM processor.

Railman said:

The question is not whether the tablet is really necessary. The question now "Is the PC really necessary"

The answer must be yes. A touch screen tablet would be totally impractical in my work environment. I suspect that tablets will continue to make inroads into the PC market for a while but at some stage a level of equilibrium will occur. Surely the question should be what technology provide the best tools for my needs.

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