Report: Tablets Will Outsell Netbooks By 2012

By  |  Thursday, June 17, 2010 at 9:57 am

Forrester Research said Thursday that it expects netbook sales to fall behind tablet sales within two years, having a lot to do with the dramatic success of Apple’s iPad device. While only 3.5 million are expected to sell this year, that number will jump to more than 20 million by 2015 and become nearly a quarter of all PC sales at that point, Forrester predicted.

2014 is the year when the install base of tablets would eclipse netbooks for the first time. Ultimately, within five years Forrester expects the market to look like this: Notebooks, 42 percent; Tablets, 23 percent; Desktops, 18 percent; and Netbooks 17 percent.

“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,” Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps said.

The firm pointed out that the success of tablets is surprising since Apple is successfully “teaching” consumers to want the iPad tablet, where they may not have considered one before. Add to this the expected cavalcade of also-rans looking to usurp Apple’s new-found dominance in the sector, and you can see why tablet growth will be so dramatic.

It’s quite possible that Apple itself could even blow by Forrester’s numbers all on its own: its already sold two million iPads, and the firm has only forecasted 3.5 million for the entire year. It’s also not too far-fetched to think that¬† in 2015 Apple would be a large portion of that 20 million sold.

If that’s true, it won’t be traditional notebooks and desktops where Apple gains serious market share — it will be in tablet computing, which many (including myself) thought there was no real market for.



4 Comments For This Post

  1. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    They are way underestimating how many tablets will sell. If you remove Apple from these numbers I think they are more correct, except there won’t be 3.5 million non-Apple tablets by end of 2010. But 20 million non-Apple tablets by 2015 sounds about right. Although nobody but Apple has ever sold more than a million tablets, period. Including the pen tablets.

    Even if just Apple alone stayed at a 1 million iPads per month pace, they’ll sell 20 million by December 2011. But iPad stock is constrained right now, they are only in a handful of countries, there’s a 2 per customer limit and no organizational sales, and only relatively few iPad-optimized apps yet. Plus, by the end of 2011 there are 2 back-to-schools, 2 holiday seasons, 2 major operating system releases, another hardware release, and possibly a price drop on the original model when the second generation ships, like they did with iPhone 3G. 50 million iPads by the end of 2011 would not surprise me.

  2. Tom B Says:

    Well, duh. Must be nice to get paid to predict the obvious.

  3. CRC32 Says:

    I know netbook sale will plummet and netbooks will be nowhere as interesting as they are right now. But I think that’s caused by the rise of CULV notebooks which, by the end of this year, should start to get more reasonable price tags, rather than growth in tablet markets. Seriously, students and field researchers alike need something along the lines of notebooks, not stinkin’ tablets.

  4. Tom B Says:

    CRC32: CULV is merely an incremental improvement to the netbook; hardly a game-changer.

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