IDC: Trade-in programs helping tablet shipments surpass PCs this winter

IDC: Trade-in programs helping tablet shipments surpass PCs this winter

Summary: The complete computing market is not expected to grow as much this year, but tablets are making a big leap on their own anyway.


It seems almost like everyday there is a new analyst study or forecast highlighting the game of leap frog that mobile devices are playing on traditional PCs.

The latest figures from market intelligence firm IDC play into that, projecting global tablet shipments alone will top those of PCs this winter.

Here's how the number shake out, according to the report published on Wednesday.

The entire computing (or "smart connected device") market -- which IDC defines to include PCs, tablets, and smartphones -- is poised to grow by 27.8 percent over 2013, a slightly lower rate than the 30.3 percent growth seen in 2012.

While the IDC thinks PCs shipments will still be greater than tablet shipments for the full year, tablet shipments are expected to surpass total PC shipments (desktop and laptops PCs) in the fourth quarter.

Portability and lower prices are some of the more obvious benefits realized by tablets along with smartphones, but IDC research analyst Megha Saini pointed in the report toward another interesting source fueling these trends: buy-back schemes.

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. Introducing new handsets and tablet devices at cheaper price points along with special initiatives like trade-in programs from Apple and BestBuy will accelerate the upgrade cycle and expand the total addressable market overnight.

For 2013 overall, IDC is predicting approximately 227.3 million tablet units to have shipped by the end of the year, accounting for 14.6 percent of the global computing market.

Desktops and laptops combined are expected to account for 20.2 percent of the market with 315.3 million total units shipped.

But by 2017, tablets are expected to control 16.5 percent of the market with 406.8 million shipments.

PCs are predicted to still grow to 319.71 million combined shipments during the same time frame, but will drop to only hold 13 percent of the market.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Tablets, PCs, Tech Industry

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • i wonder how IDC categorize 2in1/Convertibles/detachables

    are these PCs or Tablets?
    • Great question that I haven't seen answered anywhere

      What is the Surface RT? What about the Surface Pro? What about the Sony Vaio Duo?
      x I'm tc
      • Windows tablets?

        Did not sell enough units to make a ripple.
  • 20 percent

    That is the Windows share of our new mobile world. That is still far too high, but it is better than 90%.
    • Re: 20 percent

      The ironic thing is that it happened right under the noses of Microsoft and its fanbois. They were so busy trumpeting Windows' dominance on the desktop, they completely failed to notice that it was mattering less and less.

      There are quite a few around who still haven't got the message.
  • Problem with the predictions is that, by 2017, those tablets won't be

    tablets anymore, and they'll be PCs in smaller packages.

    The other problem with the prediction is that, along with tablets evolving to become PCs, PCs will have evolved to become "tablet-sized", which then makes them tablets according to the definition of what a tablet is.

    So, by 2017, MS will still be the number one OS in PCs, and in the evolved tablets that need the more feature-rich OSes, and in the PCs that became "tablet-sized" since those too will be using the more feature-rich and more capable OS.

    The MS haters will still be attacking MS for "controlling" so much of the computing landscape, with at least a 60% presence in all computing platforms combined.
    • Re: they'll be PCs in smaller packages

      They already are. And most of them are not running Microsoft Windows.

      You can argue about "post-PC" or not "post-PC" all you want, but one thing is beyond dispute:

      This is the post-Windows era.