Tablet shipments to outpace laptops in 2013, NPD says

Touch displays are driving tablet buying patterns; Windows 8 has had limited effect so far

New tablet shipments will outnumber laptops for the first time in 2013, as touch display capabilities drive buying patterns rather than new operating systems like Windows 8 and Windows RT, research firm NPD DisplaySearch reported on Monday.

NPD projects that tablet shipments will jump to 256.5 million globally in 2013, then more than double to 579.4 million by 2017. Tablet shipments will grow by 67% in 2013 over 2012's level of about 159 million.

Meanwhile, laptop shipments will remain almost constant with last year's numbers, with 203.3 million projected to ship in 2013> The researcher expects laptop shipments to fall to 183.3 million in 2017.

One bright spot for laptops -- those with touchscreen capabilities -- will see shipments grow by 48% in 2014.

Ultraslim laptops, like Intel's Ultrabooks and Apple's MacBook Air, will account for 66% of notebook shipments in 2013. The share of ultraslim laptops will grow to 80% in 2017, NPD said. Intel's third-generation Ultrabooks will run Haswell chips for touch capability.

NDP said new operating systems like Microsoft's Windows 8 are unlikely to drive touch adoption, while lower cost tablets and new form factors like convertibles will.

"Windows 8 has had a limited impact on driving touch adoption in notebook PC's due to a lack of applications needing touch and the high cost of touch on notebook PC's," said Richard Shim, an analyst at PF DisplaySearch, in a statement.

Low cost tablets are driving tablet adoptions in emerging markets, NPD said.

The rapid rise in shipments of so-called white box tablets that are made mostly by small, Chinese manufacturers, is cannibalizing the laptop businss overall. In some emerging markets, tablets are selling where laptops have not previously sold.

Acer on Friday unveiled a new $169 Android tablet, the Iconia A1, and then Amazon briefly posted, then removed from its Web site an ad for a Windows 8 Acer Iconia tablet for $380. Such a tablet would be the first 8.1-in device running Windows 8.

IDC recently noted the impact of white box tablets driving all tablet shipments, which reached 49 million in the first quarter of 2013.

NPD's tablet forecasts for tablets are far higher IDC's.

In March, IDC projected 175 million tablet shipments in 2013, while NPD today projects that 256.5 million tablets will ship in 2013. IDC's report projected that 350 million tablets will ship in 2017, far below NPD's projection of 579.4 million tablet shipments.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Read more about mobile/wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Mobile/WirelessNetworkingwirelesshardware systemslaptopsNPD DisplaySearchtabletsintelmobileAppleDisplaySearchMicrosoft

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?