2013: When Tablets Beat Laptops

New analysis from NPD puts definite numbers around a trend you may have spotted: the death of the laptop at the hands of the tablet.

NPD DisplaySearch's mobile computing market analysis has predicted a startling development for 2013: This is the year tablets will occupy over 50% of the market, as shipments of the slate-like computers leap 64% over last year's figures. That stat has one important implication—that tablets will outsell laptops. In fact, NPD predicts that the trend will continue so that by 2017 laptops serve just over a quarter of the market.

In context, it's worth noting that last year NPD said that the tablet/laptop switchover would happen in 2016, and that tablet shipment growth would be a much more sedate 28% compound annual rate over the next five years. Which means that even this new prediction may be conservative.

And there's no prizes for guessing which major player NPD says dominated the market in 2012, and will continue to lead it this year—albeit it with increasingly serious competition (a competition that NPD blames for its decision to move up the tablet/laptop takeover date).

The death of the laptop is something we called back in early 2012, and it's hardly surprising—especially since it's now a world of smart devices, and one in which a single company can download 40 billion apps onto mobile devices. But it may be a surprise to many that the tablet revolution has dethroned the laptop so soon... although it is a rather pleasant return to a format similar to one of humankind's earliest forms of record-keeping.

Do you plan to buy a tablet in 2013?

[Image: Flickr user wiebering]

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  • Weaver2

    I feel there is a lot wrong with the media's "death of the laptop" and "death of the PC" claims. 

    Firstly yes, tablets and phones are booming.  However, it's because they're seen as cool, hip and new. 

    Secondly, people just don't NEED new laptops.  I got mine in 2010, and it was only $700 and it still does essentially everything I need it to.  Keep in mind, I'm computer programmer by profession and what people consider a "power user".

    This is why their sales are trumping laptops, because people with computers don't need new ones and want to try out one of these new fancy devices because they look fun and most importantly, did not own one before.

    Was this post written on a tablet?  Are music production studios doing their mastering on tablets?  Are movie studios rendering their CG on tablets?  Is editing work done on tablets?  Are students writing essays on tablets?  Are programmers creating software on tablets? 

    The list goes on and highlights why, unless there is a massive shift in both what tablets provide and the openness of the platforms (you must go through apple and google certification) the PC, as it is now, will never truly die.

    Tablets are for consumption, PC's are for creation.
    I swear to God, the day my employer hands me a tablet and says "We're all writing code on a 10" screen with a slow on screen keyboard now" is the day I hand in my resignation letter.

  • $27180517

    It's a complimentary device and until a vast improvement in computing power will not replace a laptop nor desktop...perhaps for simple minded folk but professionally not happening any time soon