IHS: tablets are still ‘luxury items,’ notebook market alive and kicking

The mainstream proliferation of cutting-edge media tablets won’t hurt the notebook PC industry like it has netbook manufacturers said analysis provider IHS iSuppli. In fact, a projected increase of notebook shipments in the next few years will have PC tablets to thank.

IHS: tablets are still 'luxury items,' notebook market alive and kicking
Image by: IHS iSuppli

IHS predicts global shipments numbers for notebooks will surge from 220 million this year to nearly 325 million by 2015.

Part of that 100 million+ boost will be attributable to Windows 8-based tablets taking off. The research group reasoned that the eventual launch of Windows 8 will help frame PC tablets as solid purchases, noting their inherent ability to interact with other PC devices as a key selling point. By 2015, PC tablets alone could break past the 45 million unit mark.

However, notebooks still have much to offer on their own said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms research at IHS. The analyst believes they serve a distinct, vital function which can’t be offered by current tablets.

“Despite the intense competition from media tablets, notebooks remain a useful tool that has become an essential part of modern life – rather than a luxury item,” he said.

Wilkins added that while tablets cater specifically to “consumption-oriented” activities, the bulk of creative work across myriad fields is handled on notebook PCs. Consumers can certainly stream movies, download music and obsessively check their Facebook profile on both devices, but notebooks are the clear preference for those working on web-based projects or covering consumer electronics news.

Of course, that doesn’t mean tablets will slouch any time soon. If anything, the increasingly digital world will only help.

“Following the launch of Apple’s iPad and other high-profile devices, consumers have been bombarded with media tablet advertising and press coverage,” said Wilkins. “And with the media tablet portrayed as providing the same capabilities as the notebook PC, consumers are considering media tablets to be an alternative to notebooks. This has caused notebook sales growth to slow down compared to past years.”

Media tablets will enjoy a whopping 249 percent shipment increase in 2011, said IHS – bringing the total global figure to 60 million. In 2015, over 275 million tablets will be in play. (via IHS iSuppli)