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Tablet shipments to surpass all PCs by 2015, IDC says

The marketing researcher also predicts that this year tablet shipments will jump nearly 60 percent -- and top the number of laptop shipments.

Apple's iPad Mini

The tablet market should top all laptop shipments this year and the entire PC market by 2015, according to a report released Tuesday.

Market researcher IDC estimated that tablet shipments will grow 59 percent this year to 229.3 million units. That's higher than IDC's estimate for notebook shipments this year. Topping that, IDC predicts tablet shipments will surpass the total number of notebook and desktop PC shipments in 2015.

"Tablets surpassing portables in 2013, and total PCs in 2015, marks a significant change in consumer attitudes about compute devices and the applications and ecosystems that power them," Ryan Reith, program manager for IDC's mobility trackers, said in a statement.

The traditional computing market has fallen under tough times recently, hurt both by cautious spending and the growing popularity of mobile devices. Many consumers are opting for smartphones and tablets instead of buying new PCs, and that has led the PC market to fall sharply year over year -- down in the double digits on a percentage basis -- in the first quarter. The market is expected to slump for all of 2013.

Meanwhile, IDC on Tuesday said the average selling price for tablets is dropping. Apple's iPad started the tablet craze, but lower-priced devices are gaining traction. This year, the global average selling price for tablets should drop 11 percent to $381, about half the average PC price of $635.

At the same time, tablets with smaller screens are gaining traction in the market. Within two quarters, the sub-8-inch tablet category overtook the larger-sized segment in terms of total shipments, IDC said. In 2013, IDC predicts, 55 percent of tablet shipments will be in the smaller-screen segment. In 2011, only 27 percent of tablets were below 8 inches. By 2017, the percentage should rise to 57 percent, the firm said.