Two reasons why tablets will be twice as big as notebooks in 2014

by Doug Drinkwater

July 30 2013

Analysts expect there to be twice as many shipments for tablets than for notebooks in 2014
Analysts expect there to be twice as many shipments for tablets than for notebooks in 2014

Do you think tablets are still a poor substitute for notebooks? The findings from a recent research report may urge you to think again.

In its latest quarterly report into mobile PC shipments, DisplaySearch predicts that tablet shipments will reach a gigantic 364 million worldwide in 2014, a figure which is significant because the researcher believes that this will be more than double the 177 million shipments forecast for standard notebook and ultra-slim PCs.

The research firm hasn’t exactly been shy of promoting the tablet over the notebook in recent times. The company said in May 2012 that tablet shipments would overtake notebook shipments by 2016 but claimed in January that this would actually happen in 2013.

Citing the growth of developing regions and an increasing array of innovative tablets, DisplaySearch believes that it’s not just consumers that are moving away from notebooks, but vendors too.

“The PC market is clearly shifting away from notebooks and toward tablets,” said Richard Shim, a senior analyst with DisplaySearch.

“Supply chain indications reveal that previously planned production of notebook PCs is being pulled back due to declining adoption and that brands are gradually increasing the number of tablet PC models in their product mixes. Panel and finished goods suppliers are also increasing production of displays and other components for tablets in order to keep up with the market changes.”

Part of this movement is being driven in emerging regions, with buyers in these areas more likely to turn to tablets which are affordable, ergonomic and which boast an excellent battery life.

However, while this cannibalization accounts for one part of the tablet’s rise, DisplaySearch highlights improving hardware as another for the notebook’s downfall.

The report claims that the tablet market is “quickly evolving” with more screen sizes, and adds that tablets with screens smaller than 8-inchs will account for 59% (166 million units) in 2013 and 63% (277 million units) in 2015.

As a result, DisplaySearch forecasts that tablet shipments will grow to a massive 589 million units in 2017, almost three-times the size of the notebook PC market, which is expected to stay around 176 million.

Emerging countries and new screen sizes aren’t the only factors worth considering when looking at how tablets are beating out more traditional PCs.

Recent studies from Gartner and IDC have also highlighted affordable tablets as another reason, while IDC also believes that the increasing ability to create content on iPads and Android and Windows 8 tablets is spurring demand.

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