laptop-vs-tabletAccording to new data released by the International Data Corporation (IDC), the number of tablets to be shipped during the last quarter of this year will exceed the total number of PCs (desktops plus laptops) shipping in the same period. But this doesn’t mean that more tablets are being sold then PCs, not yet. At the moment the predicted Q4 2013 tablets shipments are a bump in the road, a significant bump, but a bump none-the-less. It is estimated that total PC sales for the year will still exceed those of tablets, but tablets are catching up fast and by 2015 tablet shipments will overtake PC shipments.

Smartphones are continuing to sell in high volumes and IDC calculate that 1.4 billion handsets will be sold during 2015. Taking PCs (including laptops and notebooks), smartphones and tablets as a whole, smartphones account for around 69 percent of shipments worldwide while tablets account for around 14 percent. The remaining 17 percent are PCs. However over the next few years tablet market share is expected to increase while PC sales decrease. Smartphone market share is expected to remain constant but the actual number of devices sold will increase as the market size increases.

IDC Smart Connected Device Forecast Q4 2013

What is interesting is that the research shows that the key to further success in the tablet market will be lower-priced devices. The IDC forecasts that lower-cost devices will boost overall tablet sales and could also spark interest in new sectors like education. However the popularity of smartphones with screens over 5 inches could eat away at tablet sales as consumers choose to use one device, a 5+ inch smartphone, rather than a smaller smartphone plus a tablet.

What about you? If you had the money to buy either a laptop or a tablet, which would you get?

Gary Sims
Gary has been a tech writer for over a decade and specializes in open source systems. He has a Bachelor's degree in Business Information Systems. He has many years of experience in system design and development as well as system administration, system security and networking protocols. He also knows several programming languages, as he was previously a software engineer for 10 years.