Brace yourself: Tablets to outpace PC shipments by 2015

Faith Merino · May 28, 2013 · Short URL:

People realize they don't need to spend $600+ on a laptop to look at pics of cats cuddling in a sink

A bleak new world is upon us: global tablet shipments are expected to exceed laptop shipments this year, according to IDC. Tablet shipments will outpace all PC shipments as of 2015.


Because it turns out you don’t need a lot of computing power to post a snarky political meme on Facebook or watch a video of a laughing baby. Both of which make up my own laptop’s primary use value. (And Googling child stars of the ‘80s and ‘90s to see what they look like today.)

A report released Tuesday by IDC reveals that tablet shipments are expected to grow 58.7% year-over-year in 2013 to reach 229.3 million units, up from 144.5 million units last year.

Meanwhile, worldwide PC shipments are expected to fall by 7.8% this year, with laptops expected to reach only 187.4 million units this year, compared to 200.9 million last year. The PC market as a whole is expected to see only 321.9 million shipments this year, down from 349.2 million last year.

"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, in a statement. "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."

Tablet shipments are expected to exceed 400 million units in 2017, while total PC shipments are expected to hover around 333.4 million.  

And while Apple once called the shots on the tablet market with its $500 iPad, an influx of lower-priced Android tablets is changing the pricing landscape for tablets. The worldwide average selling price (ASP) for tablets in 2013 is expected to drop nearly 11% to $381, which is nearly half the ASP of a PC at $635.

For the average person who’s primarily interested in accessing the Web, shooting out emails, watching videos, and playing games (or, dare I say—reading?), a tablet is a much safer and easier investment than a laptop. 


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