Tablet shipments lose momentum; Total PC unit forecast downgraded

IC Insights will release its Update to the 2015 IC Market Drivers report in June. The Update includes revisions to IC market conditions and forecasts for the 2015 2018 automotive, smartphone, personal computer and tablet markets, as well as an update to the market for the Internet of Things. This bulletin reviews IC Insights’ 2015 unit shipment forecast for total personal computing unit shipments.

Five years ago, touchscreen tablets began pouring into the personal computing marketplace, stealing growth from standard personal computers and signaling the start of what has been widely described as the “post-PC” era. Led by Apple’s iPad systems, tablet shipments overtook notebook PCs in 2013, and it appeared as if they would surpass total personal computer units (counting both desktop and portable systems) by 2016. However, that scenario no longer seems possible after tablet growth lost significant momentum in 2014 and then nearly stalled out in the first half of 2015 due to the rise in popularity of large-screen smartphones and the lack of interest in new tablets that do not add enough features or capabilities to convince existing users to buy replacements. Consequently, IC Insights has downgraded its forecast for the overall personal computing market, including much lower growth in tablets and continued weakness in standard PCs (Figure 1).

The updated forecast shows total personal computing unit shipments (desktop PCs, notebook PCs, tablets, and Internet/cloud-computing “thin-client” systems) dropping 1 percent in 2015 to 545 million. In the original forecast of the 2015 IC Market Drivers report (MD15), total personal computing system shipments were projected to rise 8 percent in 2015 to 609 million units, followed by a 10 percent increase in 2016 to 670 million. The revised outlook cuts the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of personal computing unit shipments to 2.1 percent between 2013 and 2018. Total personal computing system shipments are now projected to reach 578 million in 2018.

Worldwide shipments of keyboard-equipped standard PCs (desktops and notebooks) peaked in 2012 at 345 million, but they are expected to decline by a CAGR of -0.5 percent in the 2013-2018 timeperiod. In the updated outlook, tablets are projected to account for 45 percent of total systems sold in 2018 (259 million units) versus the MD15’s original forecast of 57 percent (423 million) that year. Further into the future, tablets are now expected to account for about half of personal computing system shipments with the remaining units being divided between standard PCs and Internet/cloud-centric platforms.

IC Insights June Report

Figure 1


Additional details on the IC market for medical and wearable electronic is included in the 2015 edition of IC Insights’ IC Market Drivers—A Study of Emerging and Major End-Use Applications Fueling Demand for Integrated Circuits.  This report examines the largest, existing system opportunities for ICs and evaluates the potential for new applications that are expected to help fuel the market for ICs.


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