By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Santa Clara, Calif. — Falling prices and advances in displays will lead to higher global shipment levels of tablet PCs, which will increasingly replace notebook PC shipments in the future.
According to The NPD Group 2014 global tablet PC shipments are expected to rise to 315 million units, comprising more than 65 percent of the market, according to the NPD DisplaySearch “Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report.” Tablet shipments will climb to 455 million units by 2017, encompassing nearly 75 percent of the mobile PC market.
Worldwide tablet PC average selling prices (ASPs) are expected to fall from $311 in 2014 to $296 in 2017, which will help increase adoption — particularly in emerging regions where first-time PC buyer penetration rates are highest, the report stated.
Consumers will also have more options to choose from, as new technologies and features hit the market, including AMOLED and other display technologies, a greater variety of screen sizes and higher resolutions.
“Momentum for the tablet PC market is in full swing as they have become the dominant mobile PC form factor,” said Richard Shim, senior analyst at NPD DisplaySearch. “Competition is expected to increase as traditional notebook PC brands, including Lenovo, HP and Dell, update their product portfolios to emphasize tablet PCs. Increased competition will mean more attention on, and development of, various segments of the market, which will ultimately lead to greater choice and devices that better fit the needs of consumers.”
Following weaker than expected shipment demand from the back-to-school and holiday seasons in 2013, notebook PC brands have reduced their shipment estimates for 2014, with an expected year-over-year decline of nearly 7 percent. Additionally, with penetration of less than 10 percent for 2013, touchpanel integration in notebook PCs has not increased demand as much as previously expected. The result is weaker than expected demand for standard notebook and ultra-slim PCs.
Standard notebook PC shipments are expected to decline from 155 million units in 2013 to 105 million units in 2017, while ultra-slim PC shipments will rise from 26 million units in 2013 to 57 million units is 2017.
The weak shipment forecast is forcing brands to re-evaluate their pricing strategies and a rise in selling prices in the near term is expected, NPD said. Features such as new designs and higher-resolution displays will be used to justify higher selling prices.
Standard notebook PC ASPs are expected to rise from $667 in 2013 to $693 in 2014 while ultra-slim PC ASPs are expected to rise from $885 to $936 in 2014.
In the tablet PC market, emerging screen technologies and sizes are expected to give brands increased flexibility to offer more differentiated products to consumers. At the same time, strong market trends continue to drive shipment growth. The shift towards smaller sizes continues to enable lower price points in emerging regions, such as Eastern Europe, China, Asia Pacific, Latin America, The Middle East and Africa, which will account for more than 60 percent of worldwide shipments in 2014.
Tablet PCs with screens smaller than 9 inches will comprise approximately two thirds of overall shipments in 2014, while 7-inch screens will garner the most market share — exceeding 30 percent through 2017.
Emerging regions will account for an increasing share of worldwide mobile PC shipments, growing from 57 percent, or 274 million units in 2014, to 62 percent, or 385 million units, by 2017. Growth will be led by tablet PCs, which will account for 70 percent of mobile PC shipments into emerging regions in 2014. Nearly half of tablet PC shipments into emerging regions in 2014 will be devices retailing for less than $200.
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