IDC: tablets to overtake laptops this year, all PCs in 2015

IDC tablet projections

It was not long ago that people dreamed of providing a PC for every child on the planet. Well, the vision needs to be updated. Tablets – particularly  those in the iPad mini size range – are outselling laptops now and soon will overtake all PCs, research firm IDC reported Tuesday.

Some 229.3 million tablets are expected to ship this year for a 58.7 percent growth rate, compared to 2012. By contrast, PC shipments are down for the second year in a row, dropping 7.8 percent in 2013, the company announced.

The key takeaways: tablets are becoming smaller and cheaper, while at the same time being increasingly able to accomplish tasks once done by PCs…

Slumping shipments of laptops and PCs can no longer be blamed solely on a depressed worldwide economy, IDC announced. Instead, a paradigm shift is underway – one that doesn’t include PCs and laptops for many consumers.


“What started as a sign of tough economic times has quickly shifted to a change in the global computing paradigm with mobile being the primary benefactor,” said Ryan Reith, program manager for IDC.

The passage by tablets of both laptops and PCs marks a “significant change in consumer attitudes about compute devices and the applications and ecosystems that power them.”


Although PCs will maintain an “important role” for business users, for consumers “a tablet is a simple and elegant solution for core use cases that were previously addressed by the PC,” Reith said.

Echoing his point, IDC’s Loren Loverde noted:

Many users are realizing that everyday computing, such as accessing the Web, connecting to social media, sending emails, as well as using a variety of apps, doesn’t require a lot of computing power or local storage.

While PC prices have fallen to $635, the cost is still almost double the $381 you’re expected to pay for a tablet in 2013.

IDC tablets vs notebooks 2015

Among tablets, small is big.

According to IDC, market share for tablet below eight inches – such as the iPad mini – is expected to grow from 55 percent of the market now to 57 percent by 2017.

iPad mini (three-up, front, back, profile, black)

Meanwhile, the researchers forecast shipments of tablets with screens between eight and eleven inches will drop precipitously: from 73 percent of the market in 2011 to 37 percent in 2017.

Just as Apple introduced the Mac into schools, it is having equal success unveiling the iPad as an educational tool, per IDC researcher Jitesh Ubrani said:

These devices are learning companions, and as tablet prices continue to drop, the dream of having a PC for every child gets replaced with the reality that we can actually provide a tablet for every child.

And if you believe the rumor-mill, Apple could be developing a 12.9-inch ‘iPad maxi’ model to target educational market and digital textbooks.

The story also asserts Apple has been working with component suppliers on a new display technology for classroom use, one with less glare versus the traditional LCD IPS tech currently utilized on iPads and iPhones.