Tablet market to be dominated by small screens, says IDC

Tablet market to be dominated by small screens, says IDC

Summary: IDC's growth projection is based on inexpensive Android devices with screen sizes of about 7 inches driving demand.


Tablet shipments are expected to surge and eclipse PC units by 2015 largely due to inexpensive devices with 8-inch screens and smaller, according to research firm IDC.

IDC said that it expects tablet shipments to be 229.3 million units in 2013, up 58.7 percent from 144.5 million units in 2012. In 2013, tablet shipments will pass portable PCs and in 2015 outrun the entire PC market.



In other words, cheap good-enough computing with a mobile spin is in.

The other wrinkle for IDC's growth projection is that Android devices with screen sizes of about 7 inches are driving the surge. IDC said that average prices for tablets will fall 10.8 percent in 2013 to $381. PC prices are nearly double that tally.

According to IDC, tablets with screen sizes of 8 to 11 inches will only be 37 percent of the market in 2017, down from 73 percent in 2011. In just two quarters, the iPad mini and Android devices have made smaller tablets dominant. 

Topics: Tablets, Android, Apple, Google, Mobility

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
  • Tablets with small screens? Where's Microsoft with Windows RT?

    'Softies are getting Blue (pun intended) in the face waiting for small form factor tablets.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Why WindowsRT?

      Current Intel Atom tablets running Windows8 are being sold at a lower price than WindowsRT tablets. If the same pricing can be maintained for 8 inch models and be competitive against iOS/Android, I see no reason why any OEM or Microsoft should use WinwdowsRT.

      Windows8 does everything RT does, but allows the option to use the full desktop as well. Again I really don't see where WindowsRT is supposed to exist.
  • Tablet market to be dominated by small screens, says IDC

    I'll believe it when I see it and right now I see very few tablets being touted around. I'd like to know how IDC came up with such a prediction and what numbers they are using. We keep hearing on ZDNet how tablets are going to explode in sales but it hasn't happened. I want to see all these tablets being used. Until then anyone making such a prediction is full of it.
    • Hybrids

      Android and iOS are right now very suitable for tablet-phone hybrids since the operating systems are used for both phones and tablets. Microsoft has gone more for a laptop-tablet hybrid approach where desktop, laptop and tablets share operating system. The market will determine who wins....
    • Funny

      "I'll believe it when I see it"

      Even the most obvious, "staring you in the face" facts, that are not pro MS, are "lost" on you.

      Nice try.
    • Estimates v. Predictions

      Market predictions are just that, but current tablet sales are indeed exploding while PC sales are trending down. You say it hasn't happened but it has. According IDC, 2012 tablet sales increased 78.4% to 128 million units globally. Meanwhile total 2012 PC sales were down around 4% globally to 353 million according Gartner. (These estimates are based on industry reported data).

      As for your comment that you want to see all these tablets being used, it is not possible to draw broad market inferences from personal observation especially in the early stages of technology adoption, where there typically is significant demographic variability.

      In my personal experience, unlike yours, I see tablets everywhere: at home, in the office, on the plane, on the bus, in the park, in New York. I personally use my iPad at least 5 hours a day for media consumption and much more. And, yes, I see a lot more tablets in Business Class than Economy. And no, my observations are no more valid than yours in terms of quantifying the market! But the objective data is out there and irrefutable.
      • Facts and Logic vs Loverock

        With all due respect, I think you are wasting your time.

        LD has allegedly had a full frontal lobotomy, or so it seems.

        Get used to it.
        • D.T. Long I Recind All Previous Statements Supporting LD and Owli

          After the posts they left regarding the new MS Mouse last week, they have made it very obvious they are MS sloths.
  • I call BS!

    I expect those flexible, incredibly thin screens to make it possible to tote around dual screen devices the size of current cell phones that have one 4"-5" screen for use on the go and another larger screen that pops out for when you are more stationary.

    I also expect these devices to mate with widely available larger screens etc. via a wireless protocol eventually, leading to even less necessity for the mid range 7" devices.

    Internet cafes and kiosks are sort of a joke right now because they require expensive computers and upkeep. When it becomes possible to entertain by simply having cheap, incredibly thin screens at every table, every gathering place will become an internet cafe. People will rarely ever need to have use for a screen in the mid range. Just big screens and phone sized screens.
  • Who is the biggest fool?

    Between Dignan and every other analyst, including IDC it is a close contest on who is wasting more of your time.
    Between the Death of the PC or the new Apple watch and Apple TV or how the tablets will take over world, one would imagine that Dignan and friends have some kind of Nostradomus complex.
  • Smaller screens?

    While small-screen tablets and larger-screen "phablets" are the current "sweet spot", I'm not convinced most tablet users really *want* the smaller screens; what they really like is the smaller, lighter form factor. Give the industry's R&D departments time to develop an alternative -- my vision is a flexible display that can be folded in half without damage -- and I think we will see a resurgence of 10-inch (or even larger) mobile devices. Picture a phone-equipped tablet that is slightly lighter and thinner than a 7-inch tablet when folded (with a Bluetooth headset and perhaps a smaller "outer" screen), but which opens out to the size of a 10-inch tablet. Or an even smaller device with a pull-out "window shade" display, something I saw in a science fiction series years ago. Such a device would dominate the market if it were available today, and might still be a big seller when it's actually possible several years from now. I'd even accept a "Dick Tracy" wrist display as a wireless accessory to today's smartphones; with that and a Bluetooth headset, I could leave my phone in my pocket nearly all the time, even Skype-ing from the patio at Starbucks. (Might have to develop an intelligent automobile mode that disables the display while driving, I'll admit.)
  • Cost vs size

    Quad core tablets at 7" are coming in under $100. That's going to drive immense volume. After that the size average should go back up. Right now the problem seems to be choosing one from the baffling variety.