There’s a lot of data flying around at the moment about the rise of tablets in relation to the decline of what we traditionally think of as a PC. In the last week, first IDC then Canalys put the ratio of PC to tablet shipments at or below 2:1 for the fourth quarter of last year.
Now another analyst house has weighed in, with related but slightly different metrics. This time it’s GfK, which has been looking at the situation specifically in France and reckons that tablet sales will actually overtake those of notebooks this year. Specifically, GfK is forecasting 5.1 million tablet sales and 3.9 million notebook sales during 2013.
Why is this? GfK puts it down to the fact that tablets have gotten much cheaper, and the average price of PCs is actually going up slightly, no doubt due to the profusion of ‘premium’ ultrabooks. Also, 9.4 million French households now have more than one PC and, due to the ability of tablets to substitute in many use cases, the rise of the tablet is lengthening the renewal cycle for PCs.
Note that that’s “many” and not “all” use cases – GfK’s surveying found that 70 percent of French people don’t see tablets as an outright replacement for PCs. Also, the analyst house was keen to stress that the evolution of hybrid tablet-notebooks and the possible success of Windows 8 could change matters during the year.
Of course, this is about tablets and notebooks, not tablets and PCs as such. Most notebooks are built that way to include an element of portability – an area where tablets have them beat. I find it hard to see proper desktop machines or 17-inch laptops going away anytime soon, though, so the question in my mind is what the ratios will look like once the dust has settled on what is clearly a time of much more rapid change than we could have predicted a couple of years ago.