Tablet computers will outsell netbooks by 2012, and tablets will constitute nearly a quarter of all PC sales by 2015, according to the analyst firm Forrester.
“Tablet growth will come at the expense of netbooks, which have a similar grab-and-go media consumption and Web browsing use case as tablets but don’t synchronize data across services like the iPad does,” said Forrester Research Analyst Sarah Rotman Epps.
Forrester analysts note that as the industry debates the definition of tablet computers, tablets are still a form of PC, and in their report, The US Consumer and the PC Market in 2015, claim tablet computer shipments will raise from 3.5 million units this year to 20.4 million units in 2015.
Analysts at Gartner have a much rosier view of the tablet computer market in 2010. They claim 10.5 million units will ship, buoyed by the iPad, which has seen sales in excess of 2 million units. ABI analysts peg the number at 4 million in 2010 with 57 million shipping by 2015.
Overall, consumers will still prefer notebooks to all other device in 2015. Sales of laptops will constitute 42 percent of all PC sales. Desktops (18 percent) will still be relevant as consumers embrace 3D gaming and other processor intensive computing, while netbooks (17 percent) will still be a viable tablet alternative. By 2014, more consumers will use tablets then netbooks, Forrester claims.
According to Epps, consumer demand for the iPad and tablet PCs is often at odds with the device consumers actually claim to want.
“Consumers didn’t ask for tablets. In fact, Forrester’s data shows that the top features consumers say they want in a PC are a complete mismatch with the features of the iPad. But Apple is successfully teaching consumers to want this new device.”