Market research firm DisplaySearch anticipates sales of tablets will surpass those of notebooks in 2016:
Tablet PCs, such as Apple’s iPad, are expected to be the growth driver for the mobile PC market over the next few years. Tablet shipments will surpass notebook shipments in 2016, according to the latest NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report. Overall mobile PC shipments will grow from 347M units in 2012 to over 809M units by 2017.
While notebook PC shipments are expected to increase from 208M units in 2012 to 393M units by 2017, tablet PC shipments are expected to grow from 121M units to 416M units in this period, for a compound annual growth rate of 28%. 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 80M units in 2012 to 254M units by 2017.
“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. “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.”
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. 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.