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.