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Tablets to outnumber PC shipments in Q4, says analyst

Posted: 13 Sep 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PC? tablets? smartphone?

The most recent report from International Data Corp. (IDC) has revealed that the global smart connected device market, composed of PCs, tablets and smartphones, is seen to grow 27.8 per cent YoY in 2013, slightly lower than the 30.3 per cent growth in 2012. The growth will be driven by tablet and smartphone shipments, while the PC outlook has been lowered by 10 per cent in 2013. As a result, tablet shipments are expected to exceed total PC shipments (desktop plus portable PCs) in 4Q13.

PC shipments would still be greater than tablet shipments for the full year, but IDC forecasts tablet shipments will surpass total PC shipments on an annual basis by the end of 2015. Smartphones will continue to ship in high volumes, surpassing 1.4 billion units in 2015 and accounting for 69 per cent of all smart connected device shipments worldwide, detailed the market analytics company.

In terms of shipment value, the worldwide smart connected device market will again exhibit double-digit YoY growth of 10.6 per cent in 2013, but this growth will gradually slow to just 3.1 per cent in 2017. The tapering revenue forecast reflects the increasing impact of low-cost smartphones and the white box tablet market. Worldwide smart connected device value is expected to be $622.4 billion in 2013, of which $423.1 billion will come from the sub-$350 smartphone and sub-$350 tablet segments collectively. "At a time when the smartphone and tablet markets are showing early signs of saturation, the emergence of lower-priced devices will be a game-changer," said Megha Saini, research analyst at IDC. "Introducing new handsets and tablet devices at cheaper price points along with special initiatives like trade-in programmes from Apple and BestBuy will accelerate the upgrade cycle and expand the total addressable market overnight."

IDC expects the lower-cost devices to drive interest worldwide and help to spark uptake among first-time buyers in commercial sectors such as education. A new round of device cannibalisation is also expected to kick in, but this time with large-screen (5+ inch) smartphones beginning to impact the smaller (7-8 inch) tablet market. "The device world has seen several iterations of cannibalisation impacting different categories, with the last few years focused on tablets cannibalizing PC sales," said Bob O'Donnell, programme VP, clients and displays, IDC. "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."

Looking forward, the worldwide smart connected device space will continue to surge, with overall shipments surpassing two billion units by the end of 2015 with a market value of $735.1 billion. In terms of device mix, total PC shipments accounted for 28.7 per cent of the smart connected device market in 2012 while tablets accounted for 11.8 per cent and smartphones for 59.5 per cent. By 2017, total PCs are expected to drop to 13 per cent, while tablets and smartphones will contribute 16.5 per cent and 70.5 per cent respectively to the overall market. The shift in demand from the more expensive PC category to more reasonably priced smartphones and tablets will drive the average selling price (ASP) for the collective market from $462 in 2012 to $323 in 2017.

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