John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Tablet Shipments Soar as PC Slide Gets Steeper

wile_e_coyote_cliffThe year 2013 has proven to be an ugly one for the PC, but a banner one for tablets.

To wit, the latest batch of metrics from research outfit IDC, which show the tablet market continuing its heady ascent against a grim backdrop of decline. IDC figures that global PC shipments will slip a little more than 10 percent this year, falling to 314 million units. That’s the nastiest contraction they’ve suffered yet. And things may get worse — IDC said PC shipments will fall even further in the coming years, stumbling to 305 million units by 2017.

What’s dragging them down? Declining PC usage and greater PC lifespans. As consumers increasingly turn to mobile devices to perform daily computing tasks like email and Web browsing, they’re using their PCs less. And they’re replacing their PCs less frequently for the same reason. And longer PC lifespans mean large PC-market contractions.

Meanwhile, tablet usage is on the rise. IDC forecasts tablet shipments of 221.3 million units for 2013 — up 53 percent. And it sees them hitting 386.3 million units in 2017. Now, those projections are down from earlier ones of 227.4 million this year and 407 million by 2017, but they’re still awfully big numbers.

One other point worth noting here: We may see the tablet market’s recent trend toward smaller, seven-inch devices slow a bit in the months ahead, and the reason isn’t simply the growing popularity of the phablet-style smartphones — it’s the debut of new ultralight full-size tablets like Apple’s iPad Air. Devices like these “could herald another market transition back toward larger screens, presuming consumers are willing to pay the higher costs associated with bigger screens,” IDC said.


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