Tablet PC shipments to more than double those of notebook PCs next year, says report

Shipments of tablet PCs are expected to reach nearly 364 million worldwide in 2014, more than doubling the projected 177 million shipments of standard notebook PC and ultra-slim PCs, according to a new forecast from NPD DisplaySearch.

Part of the display authority’s “Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report,” the forecast also calls for tablet PC shipments to reach 589 million by 2017, while notebook PC and ultra-slim PC are forecast at 176 million. In January, NPD DisplaySearch forecast that tablet PC shipments would exceed notebook PC shipments in 2013.

Tablet PC growth is fueled by increased adoption in emerging regions, where it is stifling notebook PC growth. PC penetration is low in emerging regions, and first-time PC buyers typically prefer a notebook PC. However, tablet PCs with lower prices, longer battery life, and more convenient usage models are replacing notebook PCs, which is leading to direct cannibalization, according to NPD DisplaySearch.

The tablet PC market is also quickly evolving, offering more choices to a growing audience of potential buyers, the display market authority said. Consumers can expect to see greater choice in screen sizes, as brands look to differentiate their products and exploit new market opportunities. Tablet PCs with screens smaller than 8in will account for 59 percent of the market (166 million units) in 2013, but they will account for 63 percent (277 million units) in 2015. New tablet PC screen sizes will include both 8in and 7.5in sizes, and manufacturers are expected to focus on tablets with prices that are attractive to middle-income buyers.

“Smaller tablets are important, because they will encourage adoption in emerging regions,” said Richard Shim, senior analyst with NPD DisplaySearch.