2013: The year tablets finally outsell notebooks?

Tablet PCs will outsell notebooks in 2013 as companies produce devices with a range of screen sizes that are proving popular across the world.
Written by Sam Shead, Contributor

A research company is forecasting that tablet PC sales will overtake notebook sales in 2013 as tablets with smaller screens are rapidly adopted around the world.

California-based NPD DisplaySearch said in its Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report that 240 million tablet PCs will be sold in 2013, compared to only 207 million notebooks.

The tablet PC market saw increasing investments in the US in the second half of 2012 as major brands tested new screen sizes and price points, said Richard Shim, senior analyst with NPD DisplaySearch. 

"In 2013, further investments are expected worldwide, stoking demand to the point that tablet PC shipments will exceed those of notebook PCs," he added.

The research firm's results also suggest that smaller tablets will replace Apple's 9.7-inch iPad as the tablet market leader in 2013.

According to the report, tablet PCs with 7 to 8-inch screens are expected to make up 45 percent (108 million units) of the market in 2013, while tablets with screens of 9.7 inches will only account for 17 percent (41 million units) of the market.

Tablets are already outselling notebooks in China and North America. In 2013, NPD DisplaySearch predicts China will have 27 percent (65 million units) of the global tablet market, but North America will remain the largest market with a 35-percent share (85 million units). 

Notebook PC shipments have slowed down due to a reduction in worldwide demand. However, new processors scheduled for the second part of 2013 are set to introduce more tablet-like PC features to notebook devices, such as instant on, 24-hour battery life and new physical appearances.

However, the rise of the tablet is could have a detrimental impact on global IT spend. Gartner claimed last week that $40bn had been sucked out of the global IT device market as tablets become increasingly popular.

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