Year-end demand for tablets is expected to drive fourth quarter shipments to record levels, meaning that tablet shipments will surpass personal computer shipments for the first time, according to IDC. But the research firm says that for all of 2013, personal computers will outsell tablets, and that the same will be true next year. In 2015, IDC expects tablets to outsell PCs for the full year.
Growth of connected device (smartphone, tablet, and PC) shipments overall is projected to be lower this year than last year. But the growth rate is still very high: 27.8% versus 30.3% for 2012. The group projects a billion smartphone shipments this year, 227 million tablet shipments, 181 million portable PC shipments, and 134 million desktop PC shipments.
By 2017 IDC projects that tablet sales will increase by 80%, desktop sales will decline slightly, portable sales will increase slightly, and smartphone shipments will soar to 1.7 billion units. In the near term, smartphone sales are expected to cannibalize tablet sales. “Over the next 12-18 months, however, we believe the larger smartphones, commonly called ‘phablets’, will start to eat into the smaller-size tablet market, contributing to a slower growth rate for tablets,” said IDC’s Bob O’Donnell.
The dollar value of the connected device market is growing more slowly than the volume of shipments, as manufacturers bring lower-cost devices to market. Year-on-year revenue growth is projected to be 10.6% this year, versus shipment growth of 27.8%. Worldwide smart connected device shipment value is projected to be $622.4 billion this year, and more than two thirds of that amount is expected to come from smartphones and tablets selling for less than $350.