IDC Predicts Tablet Sales Will Surpass Total PC Sales by 2015

Five years ago, airport lounges were full of people pecking away at laptops. Now we see commuters’ fingers gliding across tablet touchscreens. That trend isn’t set to change in a hurry, either. According to  the International Data Corporation (IDC) research firm, shipments of tablet computers are set to surpass total PC shipments by 2015.

“Total PC shipments” refers to combined shipments of laptops and desktop PCs. IDC’s forecast predicts that tablet shipments will grow 58.7% year-over-year in 2013, eventually reaching 229.3 million units. This number is up from 144.5 million units last year. The PC market, meanwhile, is “expected to see negative growth for the second consecutive year.”

IDC’s Program Manager for Mobility Trackers, Ryan Reith, believes the weak economy has benefitted the mobile market. “What started as a sign of tough economic times has quickly shifted to a change in the global computing paradigm with mobile being the primary benefactor,” he said in a press release distributed by IDC yesterday. “Tablets surpassing portables in 2013, and total PCs in 2015, marks a significant change in consumer attitudes about compute devices and the applications and ecosystems that power them.”

Reith also pointed out that laptops and desktop PCs are still going to hold an important place in homes and businesses, but “for many consumers, a tablet is a simple and elegant solution for core use cases that were previously addressed by the PC.”

The report also states that Apple’s iPad remains the most popular tablet, but low-cost Android devices are beginning to close the gap. In the same vein, customers are gravitating towards 7-inch tablet screens whereas 9.7-inch tablets used to be favored.