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Tablet PC Demand Slows, as Competition from Notebooks and Smartphones Increases

By NPD DisplaySearch
Published: Oct 01,2014

According to the NPD DisplaySearch, global tablet PC demand is slowing and shipments are forecast to grow only 2 percent year-over-year in 2014.

254 million tablet PC units will ship in 2014, which is less than the 14 percent growth NPD DisplaySearch previously forecast. Driven mainly by replacement cycles, tablet PC demand will continue to grow by single digits through 2018, and the average tablet PC screen size is expected to increase from 8 inches in 2014 to 9 inches in 2018.

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“Leading brands are changing their business plans, because the rapid growth that tablet PC demand has experienced over the past several years is ending,” said Hisakazu Torii, vice president of smart application research at NPD DisplaySearch.

“We can expect to see more competitive overlap among display sizes for tablet PCs, notebook PCs, and smartphones, as Apple has announced its new iPhone 6 Plus with an increased screen size of 5.5 inches and Microsoft has introduced its new Surface Pro 3 models with 12-inch screens.”

Shipments of 7.0-inch to 7.9-inch tablet PC will be cannibalized somewhat by 5.5-inch-and-larger smartphones. The unit share of 7.0-inch to 7.9-inch tablet PCs is forecast to decline from 55 percent in 2014 to 35 percent in 2018.

Shipments of tablet PCs with 11-inch-and-larger screens will rise from 2 percent in 2014 to 14 percent in 2018, as tablet PCs directly compete with smaller notebook PCs with screen sizes up to 13 inches.

Due to the ongoing PC refresh cycle, continued Windows XP migration, and the introduction of low-priced Windows-based notebook PCs and Chromebooks, NPD DisplaySearch expects a recovery in the global notebook market with an additional 179.6 million units shipping in 2014.

“The decline in notebook PC demand is expected to level off in 2016, with flat or slow growth thereafter,” Torii noted.

“Consumer acceptance of the Windows 9 user interface will be the key to continued notebook PC demand growth.”

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