The Tablet Market Is Ticking Up Fast, And PC Shipments Just Keep Cratering

Tablets have seen the fastest adoption curve of any consumer electronics device in history. And what analysts often forget is that record-setting growth can’t go on forever. Tablet adoption continues to rise at a fast clip, even if it’s not showing those astonishingly steep increases as in the early years after the iPad’s debut.

BI Intelligence’s latest report on the tablet market finds that the market grew about 74% in 2013 to 226 million shipments. We forecast close to 500 million tablets shipments in 2016. Our numbers are more optimistic than that of other research firms.

Fragmentation is the big, ongoing story driving the tablet market’s expansion right now, as a slew of new devices come to market at a lower price point than the iPad, and adoption expands beyond high-income users.

But PC shipments are a different story. Tablets, in particular, are eating away at PC sales. Based on data from Gartner and IDC, BI Intelligence forecasts that PC shipments dropped over 8% in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to the same quarter the previous year.

It’s the seventh consecutive quarter in which year-over-year PC shipments have declined.

The holiday season couldn’t even buoy PCs much. Shipments only ticked up about 2% from the third quarter.

Even more stunningly, PC shipments are down 10% altogether for the year, for a total 317 million. That’s the largest annual decline in the history of the PC industry and the second consecutive year in which annual shipments have fallen.

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Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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