If you thought the tablet market was on the verge of being saturated, think again. According to DisplaySearch, tablet PC shipments will reach 455 million units by 2017, at which time slates will account for nearly 75 percent of the mobile PC market as a whole. DisplaySearch says falling prices and continued advances in display technology will be key in the upcoming growth of tablets.
"Momentum for the tablet PC market is in full swing as it has become the dominant mobile PC form factor," said Richard Shim, senior analyst at NPD DisplaySearch. "Competition is expected to increase as traditional notebook PC brands, including Lenovo, HP, and Dell update their product portfolios to emphasize tablet PCs. Increased competition will mean more attention on, and development of, various segments of the market, which will ultimately lead to greater choice and devices that better fit the needs of consumers."
The rise in tablet sales will come at the expense of notebooks, the research firm says. Coming off weaker than expected back-to-school and holiday sales, notebook PC makers have reduced their estimates for 2014 and collectively are bracing themselves for a 7 percent year-on-year decline. Touch panel integration hasn't helped the way OEMs hoped, resulting in notebook PC shipments dropping from 155 million units in 2013 to 105 million units in 2017.
A silver lining in the notebook segment is the ultra-think category. While standard notebooks sales are expected to decline, DisplaySearch expects ultra-slim PCs to rise from 26 million shipments in 2013 to 57 million units in 2017.