IDC: Tablet shipments on pace to surpass PC market in 2015

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Tablet shipments are expected to grow 58.7 percent year-over-year in 2013 to reach 229.3 million units, up from 144.5 million units a year ago, according to a new forecast from research firm IDC. At the current rate of growth, tablet shipments are on pace to eclipse those of portable PCs by the end of 2013 and will surpass both desktop and portable PC shipments by 2015.

"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."

Source: IDC

IDC credits Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad for kickstarting the tablet revolution but notes that sales of low-cost devices running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android are behind current market expansion, with the worldwide average selling price of tablets expected to decline 10.8 percent in 2013 to $381. By comparison, the average PC selling price is $635.

"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 IDC's 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."

IDC also notes the ongoing reduction in tablet screen sizes. While the first-generation iPad touted a 9.7-inch display, expanding traction for seven-inch Android tablets has shuffled the deck, and tablets with screen sizes below eight inches will make up 55 percent of all shipments this year, up from 27 percent in 2012. Devices with screens between eight inches and 11 inches will account for 43 percent of shipments in 2013, plummeting from 73 percent a year earlier.

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