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NPD: Tablet Shipments to Eclipse Notebook Shipments in 2016

3 Jul, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Tablet PC shipments are projected to grow from 121 million units this year to 416 million units in 2016 — representing a 28% annual compound growth rate of 28%, according to new data from NPD DisplaySearch.

That growth surpasses notebook (laptop) PC shipments, which are expected to increase from 208 million units in 2012 to 393 million units by 2017. A key driver for tablet PC growth is adoption in mature markets (including North America, Japan and Western Europe), which will account for 66% of shipments in 2012 and remain in the 60% range throughout the forecast period. Tablet PC shipments into mature markets will grow from 80 million units in 2012 to 254 million units by 2017.

Building upon convenience-oriented features, including instant-on capability, long battery life and extreme portability, tablet PCs are expected to evolve into a compelling alternative to notebook PCs. Tablet PCs are expected to incorporate multi-core processors, increasingly stable operating systems, growing app libraries and higher resolution displays.

“Consumer preference for mobile computing devices is shifting from notebook to tablet PCs, particularly in mature markets,” said Richard Shim, senior analyst at NPD DisplaySearch. “While the lines between tablet and notebook PCs are blurring, we expect mature markets to be the primary regions for tablet PC adoption. New entrants are tending to launch their initial products in mature markets. Services and infrastructure needed to create compelling new usage models are often better established in mature markets.”

Meanwhile, notebook PCs are evolving to meet the challenge from tablet PCs. Thinner form factors, higher resolution displays and touch functionality features are expected to increase. The notebook PC market will remain the largest part of the mobile PC market during the forecast period, accounting for 60% of mobile PC shipments in 2012, declining to 49% by 2017.

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