IDC predicts sales increases of larger 2-in-1 tablets like Surface Pro 3

Microsoft's introduction of the 12-inch Surface Pro 3 earlier in May has many people wondering what this might mean for the future of the tablet industry in general. In a new report today, research firm IDC is predicting a lower sales growth figure than it first thought for tablets, but sees a brighter future for larger 2-in-1 products and for Windows devices in general.

IDC's report is predicting that for 2014, worldwide shipments of tablets will come in at 245.4 million units, which is down from its previous prediction of 260.9 million units. The new numbers represent a sales growth of 12.1 percent for 2014, down from 2013's 51.8 percent growth in worldwide tablet sales.

IDC says that consumers are keeping their tablets much longer than first anticipated and when they do get a new one, they give their old tablet away to another family member or friend. The growth in smartphones with larger screens has also impacted tablet sales, according to the firm.

However, this kind of activity could help Microsoft in the long run. IDC states, "Products with larger screens--like Microsoft's new 2-in-1, the 12-inch Surface Pro 3— are expected to play a greater role in the market going forward." IDC also believes that Windows-based tablets will see sales double between now and 2018.

Source: IDC | Image via Microsoft

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27 Comments

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elenarie said,
Exactly what I was referring to in the other news article. What a joke this organisation is.
Yes, I remember you mentioning that.

So wait, is IDC bad again? I can't seem to keep it straight with you guys here. Some threads people hold up IDC numbers, in others, they call them out. Sometimes there is a pattern to it.

trooper11 said,
So wait, is IDC bad again? I can't seem to keep it straight with you guys here. Some threads people hold up IDC numbers, in others, they call them out. Sometimes there is a pattern to it.

it's pretty simple: not everyone has the same opinions.

Dot Matrix said,
I'd love to buy a 2 in 1 tablet someday... When I have the funds for it. Maybe Surface 4?

You can buy Surface 4 when Surface 8 will be released as I am sure MS will still have lots of Surface 4 inventory left and people won't be buying overpriced Surface 8 anyway. Or you can enter in to spelling Bee competition and you might get Surface 4 for free as part of MS inventory clearance giveaway rather than dumping it in landfill.

The Surface 4 will probably be the one I purchase. I will molest the Surface 3 once they hit stores. I'm just really looking to replace and older Ultrabook.

Auditor said,

You can buy Surface 4 when Surface 8 will be released as I am sure MS will still have lots of Surface 4 inventory left and people won't be buying overpriced Surface 8 anyway. Or you can enter in to spelling Bee competition and you might get Surface 4 for free as part of MS inventory clearance giveaway rather than dumping it in landfill.

You are one massive prol.... at what you do.

You know perhaps its better you don't visit a site that mainly concentrates on that company you love so much.....

Auditor said,

You can buy Surface 4 when Surface 8 will be released as I am sure MS will still have lots of Surface 4 inventory left and people won't be buying overpriced Surface 8 anyway. Or you can enter in to spelling Bee competition and you might get Surface 4 for free as part of MS inventory clearance giveaway rather than dumping it in landfill.

Damn Auditor! You came in swinging I see. :-)

Auditor said,

You can buy Surface 4 when Surface 8 will be released as I am sure MS will still have lots of Surface 4 inventory left and people won't be buying overpriced Surface 8 anyway. Or you can enter in to spelling Bee competition and you might get Surface 4 for free as part of MS inventory clearance giveaway rather than dumping it in landfill.

What is the matter Auditor. Did you have a bad day at school?

IDC's prediction is (unfortunately for Auditor) NOT a swing against ModernUI, or against multimodal hardware - if anything, it predicts more of such hardware.

IDC's prediction actually follows known trends across all portable hardware (including tablets and smartphones) going back to prior to the rampancy of Android and iOS:

1. Folks hate scrolling (virtual displays larger than actual screen sizes) - this is why smartphone screens are growing (and increased interest in phablets globally).
2. People are doing more with both smartphones and tablets (the merging of the two will likely happen).
3. As a result of both 1 and 2, the tablet/phablet WILL encroach into notebook/Ultrabook turf.
4. Result - Microsoft (and both Surface and the larger Lumias) will look prescient, while the iPad will look comparatively underpowered.

PGHammer said,
IDC's prediction is (unfortunately for Auditor) NOT a swing against ModernUI, or against multimodal hardware - if anything, it predicts more of such hardware.

IDC's prediction actually follows known trends across all portable hardware (including tablets and smartphones) going back to prior to the rampancy of Android and iOS:

1. Folks hate scrolling (virtual displays larger than actual screen sizes) - this is why smartphone screens are growing (and increased interest in phablets globally).
2. People are doing more with both smartphones and tablets (the merging of the two will likely happen).
3. As a result of both 1 and 2, the tablet/phablet WILL encroach into notebook/Ultrabook turf.
4. Result - Microsoft (and both Surface and the larger Lumias) will look prescient, while the iPad will look comparatively underpowered.

5. Trying... People will be curious and buy the MS product but after fiddling with it for two days they will be so mad with the confused fisher price interface, jack of all trade and master of none OS, that they will go and return it to store.

6. U-turn... MS will admit it was wrong and will fire existing management and will start reverting to segregate OS to tablet and desktop.

7. Result.. only some billion dollar write off.

surface pro 3 is exactly what I wanted. I was a hair close to buy pro 2 but it was heavy and small for me. this is just perfect. plus portrait orientation is not awkward anymore. I am sure surface pro 4 or 5 would be even better but we are living at the moment. by the time surface 4 will come out surface 5 will be better. you cannot wait forever.

Auditor said,

5. Trying... People will be curious and buy the MS product but after fiddling with it for two days they will be so mad with the confused fisher price interface, jack of all trade and master of none OS, that they will go and return it to store.

6. U-turn... MS will admit it was wrong and will fire existing management and will start reverting to segregate OS to tablet and desktop.

7. Result.. only some billion dollar write off.

Is that why the device is getting so much praise from the people who have tried it?

Dot Matrix said,

Is that why the device is getting so much praise from the people who have tried it?

Yeah, the same praise as it got for version 1 and its half baked cousin RT which has been so successful that no other OEM but MS has been making it.

Auditor said,

Yeah, the same praise as it got for version 1 and its half baked cousin RT which has been so successful that no other OEM but MS has been making it.

I'm with Dot Matrix on this one. While I haven't tried the Pro 3, this device really does look nice. I have little use for a true tablet, as for anything past content consumption tablets are not the right device, at least out of the box. Poke typing on an on-screen keyboard is an exercise in frustration and a major slowdown for someone that is skilled at typing on a real keyboard. I would personally have to add a keyboard to get any use past Netflix out of a true tablet, and the Surface line gets this part right, especially with the type cover. It can be a tablet if that's all you need, but with the cover you have three input methods available, type, touch (finger or pen), and trackpad.

Hardly a difficult prediction. I can't think of anyone that would like being required to carry a keyboard when they don't need one. Just need it all to gel; hardware, software and price. We're getting there, but all three need a little work.