Small screen tablets crushing PC market

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Small screen tablets crushing PC market

BYOD doesn't mean a PC.

Analyst firm IDC expects more tablets will be shipped this year than notebook computers.

Shipments of tablets for 2013 are expected to grow to 229.3 million units, up 58.7 per cent on last year.

Two years from now, IDC estimates that more tablets will be shipped than desktop and portable PCs.

The tablet sales champion isn't Apple which created the market however, but low-cost Android devices, according to IDC's figures.

Smaller size tablets with screens eight inches or less are expected to become increasingly popular with customers, IDC believes.

Tablet pricing is expected to drop by almost 11 percent this year, to US$381 on average, nearly half that of PCs, making them even more affordable for users.

Worldwide Tablet Market Share by Screen Size Band, 2011 - 2017 

Screen Size

2011

2013

2017

< 8"

27%

55%

57%

8" – 11"

73%

43%

37%

11"+

0%

2%

6%

Total

100%

100%

100%

Source: IDC Worldwide Tablet Tracker, May 28, 2013.

IDC attributes the growth in tablet popularity to them being an elegant and simple solution for "core use cases that were previous addressed by the PC" according to analyst Ryan Reith.

While tablets are taking over, PC shipments continue to collapse, IDC said. Its latest forecast for worldwide PC shipments is bleak, with a fall of 7.8 percent expected this year. 

Customers are putting off PC upgrades and realising that everyday computing needs can be met by devices that don't have substantial amounts of computing power or storage, IDC analyst Loren Loverde said, commenting on the revised shipment figures.

The PC market may stage a recovery next year, when commercial support for Windows XP ceases and businesses replace older units.

However, the recovery could be weak as commercial markets haven't embarked on large upgrades and preferred to replace individual systems instead.

"In addition, the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) phenomenon has moved from smartphones to tablets and PCs with nearly 25 percent of employees in organisations larger than ten people claiming to have purchased the primary PC they use for work.

"This means that some of the corporate PC purchases we expected this year will no longer happen," said IDC analyst Bob O'Donnell.

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