Tablets, other devices to overshadow PCs by 2013

The booming tablet market continues to hammer computers, reports iSuppli

The PC, simply put, is having a tough year.

For the first time, Internet-enabled devices, like Apple's iPad and even TVs and video game consoles, are set to surpass PC shipments in 2013, according to IHS iSuppli, a market research firm.

In a report released Friday, iSuppli noted that worldwide shipments of Internet-enabled consumer electronics devices are expected to hit 503.6 million units in 2013. That will be up from 161 million units shipped in 2010.

The PC market, which has been taking a lot of hits from the burgeoning tablet market, will show growth, too. But it's not expected to be quite as robust.

During the same time frame, PC shipments are expected to hit 433.7 million; that would be up from 345.4 million last year.

And iSuppli noted that by 2015, shipments of Internet-enabled consumer devices will surpass three-quarters of a billion units, dramatically exceeding PC shipments of 479.1 million.

"These new figures are the latest evidence that the Internet is not just for PCs anymore," Jordan Selburn, a principal analyst at iSuppli, said in a statement. "The Internet now is revolutionizing the consumer electronics business by delivering a range of products that can bring Web-based content to homes.... In the future, consumers will be more likely to access the Internet through their televisions than via their PCs."

The PC has been struggling all year.

Just last month, analysts at Gartner reported that the PC market is moving into a slower growth path. The analyst firm said it expected "modest but steady growth."

And in June, IDC reported that strong demand for tablets such as the iPad was forcing analysts to downgrade its expectations for the worldwide PC market this year. In February, IDC had predicted the PC market would grow by 7.1% this year. That figure has now dropped to 4.2%.

Today, iSuppli noted that the tablet is largely behind current trends, and is projected to become the fastest-growing segment within the space. That's largely linked to the success of the iPad.

More than 300 million tablets are expected to ship by 2015, which is 15 times greater than shipments in 2010, according to iSuppli.

"No other Internet-enabled device in the next four years will come close to that kind of growth," the firm reported.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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