Tablet Sales to Triple Laptops by 2017, Says NPD

Global Mobile PC Shipments, including tablets and notebooks with touch

Source: NPD DisplaySearch

Tablets will replace traditional notebooks as the dominant mobile PC form factor this year, says analyst firm NPD, and will more than triple the number of laptop shipments within four years. Low-cost slates, many of which are made in China, will put an increasing amount of pressure on PC makers as the market evolves.

It’s not all bad news for notebooks. Shipments of laptops with touch capabilities are expected to grow 48 percent in 2014, spurred by a new wave of Windows 8 Ultrabooks and a predicted touch-based MacBook Air. 

MORE: Top 10 Tablets

Overall, NPD predicts 579.4 million tablet shipments  by 2017, compared to 183.3 million for notebooks. That represents a 10 percent decline for laptops over the next four years.

NPD doesn’t see Windows 8 as much of a driver for growth as falling costs and new types of designs, such as sliders and convertibles.  “Thus far, Windows 8 has had a limited impact on driving touch adoption in notebook PCs, due to a lack of applications needing touch and the high cost of touch on notebook PCs,” said Richard Shim, senior analyst with NPD DisplaySearch.

We’re already seeing a lot of experimentation with hybrids, such as the Acer Aspire P3 unveiled last week. This $799 Ultrabook looks like a tablet but has the Core i5 power of a notebook paired with a Bluetooth keyboard case. 

What Microsoft really needs, though, are sub-$400 tablets to battle the iPad mini, Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD on the low end of the market. Those devices could debut at Microsoft’s Build conference in June, where the company is rumored to show off new 7-to-9 inch versions of the Surface. 

Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
Mark Spoonauer on
Twitter Google+
Email* (will not be published)
*Indicates required field
Submit Comments

All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options