Tablets will outsell notebooks 6 to 1 by 2017: NPD

Tablets will outsell notebooks 6 to 1 by 2017: NPD

Summary: NPD's latest study suggests that tablet shipments will grow by 67 percent this year to 256.5 million, and continue to grow until it reaches 579.4 million in 2017, dwarfing notebook sales.


2013 will be the first year that sees tablet shipments outpace that of notebooks, and by 2017, we will be buying six times as many slates as notebooks, market research firm NPD has claimed.

NPD's latest study suggests that tablet shipments will grow by 67 percent this year to 256.5 million, and this will continue to grow until it reaches 579.4 million in 2017. All this while notebook sales are predicted to fall by 10 percent over the same period, going from 203.3 million to 183.3 million.

But it's not all bad news for the notebook. The first glimmer is that sales of touch-enabled notebooks will explode 48 percent during 2014, going from pretty much zero in 2012 to around 100 million in 2015, and continuing to increase for the next couple of years.

Another growth area is premium ultra-slim notebooks — a segment that includes Windows-powered ultrabooks and OS X-powered MacBook Air devices — will account for around 60 percent of touch-enabled notebooks sold during 2013, and increasing to 80 percent by 2017.

"The mobile PC industry is undergoing significant change," NPD senior analyst Richard Shim told ZDNet said in a statement. "The rapid rise and establishment of white box tablet PCs is putting pressure on traditional notebook PCs, resulting in cannibalization by tablet PCs."

But what about Windows 8? Isn't that having a restorative effect on PC sales? Not according to Shim.

"Thus far, Windows 8 has had a limited impact on driving touch adoption in notebook PCs due to a lack of applications needing touch and the high cost of touch on notebook PCs."

While this might offer PC OEMs some comfort, the bottom line message is clear — the future belongs to tablets, and if you think PCs sales are bad now, things are going to get even rougher over the next few years.

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Topics: Tablets, Laptops, Mobility

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  • We All Know

    Unless its those same notebooks that are transforming to tablets like the surface pro...
    teflon. don
    • Interestingly, Steven Jobs knew this starting from 1980s, while all of ...

      ... IDCs, Gartners and NPDs had no idea that serious tablet market would exist only four years ago.

      What visionary people like Jobs can see and *do* is AMAZING.
      • You either have

        A strange sense of humour or your room has been turned into a shrine for the recently departed God of yours.

        Anyway, as far as Apple is concerned we are really overdue for a second coming, because Android seems to be kicking their butt at the moment. But I am sure HE must have predicted that too, long long ago.
        • "Shrine"? You are self-projecting

          I am just stating the fact; look at ANY PC/tablet market prognoses from 2009 and you will find no significant trace for tablets whatsoever. Even when iPad was released all kinds of "analysts" ridiculed it as just big iPod touch, totally missing the idea of lightweight and simple OS for tablet -- comparing to unbearable full-blown desktop OS everyone expected tablets to have -- as well as the idea that it is not just mobile OS, but re-done for bigger screen, allowing significantly different UI workflow comparing to iPod/iPhone version.
  • Tablets will outsell notebooks by 6 to 1 by 2017, claims NPD

    I have to ask, for how long? We know tablet sales will not outsell notebooks forever. The only reason they are selling now is the initial wave of consumers purchasing them because others have. I ask them why they bought it and the answer was because everyone else did. I asked them what they plan to do with it and they were stumped to give me a valid reason. Tablets may work for a few people in a few situations in a few companies but they don't work for consumers. I give it a year, maybe 2, at t the most before we see tablet shares dropping and notebooks rising. People will realize the tablet is too limited for their needs. They use it for that first month then its on the shelf to collect dust.
    • may be right for once

      They're projecting almost 2,000,000,000 total sales by 2017........... I'd to get my hands on some of that stuff they're smoking.............
      Over and Out
      • I for to add this point

        So we'll see everyone with a tablet in one hand and a phone in the other.....where will the kiddies hold their hot dog?
        Over and Out
        • The iPad is perfectly flat

          so at least it'll make a great serving tray to put their hot dog and drink on as they catrry it back to their table, and it doesn't even need to be charged up for that.
          William Farrel
    • "We know...."

      As far as I have been able to discern, you know next to nothing.
      • I win!

        Thanks, I win.
    • You are talking with strange people

    • I see the life of PC's increasing

      now and the life of the tablet getting shorter. Tablets are comaparable with phones as the real life cycle is 2 years. The technology changes quicker making old devices obsolete faster then PC's and they are upgradeable like PC's. Alot of people don't mind upgrading phones every 2 years because their prices are closer to 100 then 500 whereas tablet are closer to 500. Tablets will likely still be most kids first computing device between now and 2017.
  • yeah right

    Tablets will outsell notebooks by 6 to 1 by 2017, but one notebook is so superior, it can do the all the work that six tablets can't do. The mouse alone provides precision in pointing. And then the real keyboard, larger screen, etc. Portability will be a toss up.
    Yaarov Skimaan
  • but, but,

    Blackberry CEO thorsten heins said that tablets are a fad that will be gone in 5 years.
    • That's the thing

      in 2017 everyone will go out and buy a tablet before they're all discontinued in 2018, so yes, at that point tablets will outsell netbooks by six to one! ;)
      William Farrel
    • I don't think they

      will be gone. As i stated above they will probably continue to be be most child's first computing device. Now if the number sold in that niche justifies sellling them they they will be around in 5 years.
  • Distinction without a difference..

    Honestly, I think we're moving towards a moment in which tablet vs. notebook will refer to a distinction without a difference. Even now, given the number of keyboard cases that are available for iPads and other tablets, and the number of standalone bluetooth keyboards you can buy, it's pretty clear that tablets are moving towards being all things to all people. If you want one for just "content consumption" great. You're all set. If you want to write a lot then you bring along a keyboard as well. And given how quickly mobile processors are improving, and how powerful they are becoming, even the most power-miserly tablets will soon have the chops to complete any task that the average user might demand of a computing device. I'm not going to sit here and argue about which OS will reign triumphant in 2017 (or whether any one OS will be the clear winner at that time) but I do believe that, even as tablets push traditional notebooks aside, we will be no less productive.
  • Kudos to Bill Gates for being the real visionary.

    Thanks to Bill and Microsoft, we've had mass produced tablets for a decade. It was Microsoft that popularised the tablet and continues to be one of the only innovators in this space (Samsung and Google being the others).

    Thanks Bill. Thanks Microsoft. I know that a certain other company and its legion of fanboys want to pretend that they invented the tablet but history easily proves them wrong.
    • It was Microsoft that popularised the tablet...

      I don't think that word means what you think it means.
    • re: Kudos to Bill Gates for being the real visionary.

      > It was Microsoft that popularised the tablet

      LOL what a douche!
      none none