Personal computers were once considered a bottomless market, but the rise of tablets, smart TVs and other Internet-connected devices has finally established an anchor-point to vault over the PC. First the Internet connected all the world's PCs, and now its dominance is sweeping those antiques away as new consumer-oriented devices offer more convenient access to cloud-based services. Although this trend has been predicted before, it was not until the stunning success of Apple's iPad, that the cannibalization started in earnest, prompting IHS iSuppli to predict that Internet-connected consumer devices will surpass PCs in unit sales by 2013.
Lumping together all the Internet-enabled devices--from televisions to gaming consoles, IHS iSuppli predicts that their unit shipments will surge from 161 million in 2010 to nearly 504 million in 2013. In contrast, it predicts 434 million units for PCs in 2013 (up from 345 million in 2010). And by 2015, Internet-enabled consumer devices will top 780 million, according to IHS iSuppli.
The PC market will be eclipsed by the Internet-enabled consumer devices by 2013. (Source: IHS iSuppli)
"The Internet is revolutionizing the consumer electronics business by delivering products that can bring Web-based content to homes," said Jordan Selburn, principal analyst for consumer platforms at IHS. "In the future, consumers will be more likely to access the Internet through their televisions than with their PCs."
Selburn predicts that this year, Internet-enabled consumer devices will top 241 million units and will grow by another 50 percent in 2012. Last year the top Internet-enabled consumer device was the gaming console at just over 50 million units, but in 2011 the meteorological rise of touch-screen tablets will shoot past gaming consoles, growing at a rate of 214 percent to almost 62 million units from under 20 million units in 2010. By 2015, IHS iSuppli predicts that touch-screen tablets will be shipping at 300 million units per year.
For their measurements, IHS iSuppli did not include any devices that can process data or which are inherently wireless, such as PCs and smartphones, leaving televisions, networked Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, set-top boxes, digital media players, and touch-screen tablets. Tablets, which could also be grouped in wireless or data-processing categories, were slotted with Internet-enabled consumer devices because of their role in what IHS iSuppli calls the "connected home."
For instance, Apple's iPad can play music libraries on the home audio system and can display video on its television, thereby playing a central role for the connected home. After media tablets, smart Internet-enabled Blu-Ray players will exhibit the second fastest growth rate for the connected home, according to IHS iSuppli.
IHS iSuppli's report, "It's 2011--Where's My Connected Home?" details the market watcher's predictions.