Web-enabled consumer devices to outsell PCs by 2013

In another sign of the Internet’s transformative impact on the electronics industry, shipments of Internet-enabled consumer electronics devices will soar to exceed those of the traditional platform used for accessing the Internet — the PC — for the first time in 2013, according to a new report from industry research firm iSuppli.

The firm based its prediction on the growing range of connected products, such as television sets, game consoles, e-readers and cameras. As more consumer devices for sale gain Wi-Fi and mobile broadband radios, computer sales are slowing. Essentially, the web is moving beyond traditional use of the Internet.

iSuppli predicted that connected consumer electronics sales will top 503.6 million units in 2013, up from 161 million in 2010. PC shipments during the same period will amount to 253.3 million, up from 222.3 million. By 2015, connected consumer devices will top sales of three-quarters of a billion units compared to PC shipments of 479.1 million.

Media tablets, led by Apple iPad, will show the most growth among connected devices, surpassing game consoles as the top seller in 2011. More than 300 million tablets will ship by 2015, 15 times greater than in 2010, for a five-year compound annual growth rate of 73.3 percent. Blu-ray players will follow tablets with the second highest compound annual growth rate of 37.9 percent.

Tablets may drive this growth, but smart phones should be viewed as a key driver even though iSuppli omitted them from the consumer electronics category. The smart phone has already begun to outsell PCs, and there’s plenty of room for further growth; smart phones only accounted for 29.5 percent of global handset sales last quarter.