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

The complete computing market is not expected to grow as much this year, but tablets are making a big leap on their own anyway.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

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.

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