Tablets will account for almost 50 per cent of the total PC market (desktops, notebooks and tablets) next year, according to analyst house Canalys, driven by the success of Android-derived operating systems.
Canalys estimated tablet shipments accounted for 40 per cent of PC shipments in Q3 2013, less than half a million units behind global notebook shipments. Demand for tablets is set to grow, with Canalys forecasting 285 million units to ship in 2014, growing to 396 million units in 2017.
The forecasts are not a huge surprise, given rival analyst firm IDC claimed in September that tablets will start overtaking the PC segment in Q4 2013.
Canalys expects Apple and Samsung to keep ahead of their competitors in the medium term, but warned there could be challenges for both vendors as competition in the tablet market continues to heat up.
“With the cost and time-to-market advantages afforded by their Chinese supply chain, small-to-micro brand vendors are eating up tablet market share,” commented Shanghai-based Canalys analyst James Wang.
“Vendors such as Nextbook in the United States, and Onda and Teclast in the People’s Republic of China ship more units than some of the major international top tier vendors in their home countries. The rise of small-to-micro brand vendors has proved that there is a demand for entry-level Android tablets in every country and in every region. Vendors such as Acer, Asus, HP, and Lenovo have all entered the price war, with entry-level products at sub-$150 price points. With vastly different cost structures these vendors will continue to find it extremely challenging to keep pace with local competitors, especially in APAC and Latin America.”
In terms of software, Canalys expects Android to continue dominating the tablet operating system market, taking 65 per cent share in 2014 with 185 million units (and enjoying a 32 per cent share of the total PC market).
As for the overall PC market next year, Canalys predicts “a flurry of acquisitions, mergers, and failures as PC hardware vendors of all sizes struggle to maintain their desktop and notebook business while attempting to capitalise on a tablet market that will see great volumes driving limited value,”