SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- The market watcher Canalys predicted in a report issued Tuesday that tablets will make up half the PC market in 2014.
The research firm said tablets make up 50% of shipments in the total client PC market, which includes desktops, notebooks, and tablets. It expects 285 million tablets to ship in 2014 and 396 million in 2017.
"Expect 2014 to bring a flurry of acquisitions, mergers, and failures as PC hardware vendors of all sizes struggle to maintain their desktop and notebook business while attempting to capitalize on a tablet market that will see great volumes driving limited value," Canalys said in a press release.
Worldwide, the client PC market grew 18% in the third quarter, with tablets accounting for 40% of shipments. Analysts have noted Apple's position as a top tablet vendor throughout the year with stable desktop and notebook business. Other vendors have seen shipments deteriorate, Canalys said.
"Apple's decline in PC market share is unavoidable when considering its business model. Samsung narrowly took the lead in EMEA this quarter and Apple will lose its position to competitors in more markets in the future," Canalys senior analyst Tim Coulling said in the release. "However, Apple is one of the few companies making money from the tablet boom. Premium products attract high value consumers; for Apple, remaining highly profitable and driving revenue from its entire ecosystem is of greater importance than market share statistics."
Canalys forecasts that Microsoft will take 5% of the tablet market in 2014, versus 2% in 2012; the acquisition of Nokia's device business is expected to boost marketshare.
The quarterly forecast also shows Android-derived operating systems driving the market; Canalys expects them to account for 185 million shipments, or 65% of the market, in 2014. Samsung accounted for 27% of Android tablet shipments in the third quarter.
Still, James Wang, an analyst in Shanghai, said in the Canalys release that major companies such as Samsung and Apple will face stiff competition in the coming year. "Vendors such as Acer, Asus, HP, and Lenovo have all entered the price war, with entry-level products at sub-$150 price points. With vastly different cost structures these vendors will continue to find it extremely challenging to keep pace with local competitors, especially in APAC and Latin America."
— Jessica Lipsky, Associate Editor, EE Times