Tablets will, for the first time, out-ship desktop PCs this year, according to a new report from IDC. The research firm is forecasting that by the end of 2013, desktop PC shipments will dip 4.3 percent. Tablet shipments will rise to 190 million units, thanks to an astonishing annual growth rate of 48.7 percent.

That’s enough to make tablets a much more common sight than desktop and tower computers, with emerging markets leading the charge, according to IDC research analyst Megha Saini.

“In emerging markets, consumer spending typically starts with mobile phones and, in many cases, moves to tablets before PCs. The pressure on the PC market is significantly increasing and we can see longer replacement cycles coming into effect very soon and that, too, will put downward pressure on PC sales,” she stated in press remarks.

These factors will make emerging markets hard for tablet manufacturers to ignore. By 2017, “tablet unit shipments are expected to increase by a factor of 3 with a shipment value of $125 billion dollars,” said IDC.

IDC also predicts that by 2014, tablets will similarly leave laptop and notebook PCs in the dust. And that spells good news for tablet makers Apple and Samsung, which are locked in a battle to dominate the mobile computing market.

Apple narrowed the gap separating the iPad maker from market leader Samsung in the fourth quarter of 2012. During that time, an estimated 378 million smart connected devices shipped — IDC lumps desktop PCs, notebook PCs, tablets, and smartphones into the “smart connected device” category. Revenues surpassed $168 billion.

Samsung, buoyed by strong Android handset sales, clung to the lead, with 21.2 percent unit shipment share. Apple, on the strength of its iPad and iPad Mini, found itself within striking distance at 20.3 percent.

Don’t feel bad for Apple; its coffers have no rival. “On a revenue basis for the fourth quarter, Apple continued to dominate with 30.7% share versus 20.4% share for Samsung,” informed IDC.

TUB Verdict: There are number of reasons for this slump, we would like to keep it short:

  1. Decreasing revenues in the market for desktop and notebook PCs and the significant uncertainties as to whether, or when, this decrease will end
  2. The overall difficulty of predicting the market for PCs
  3. the ongoing downward pricing pressure and trend towards commoditization in the desktop and notebook personal computer market
  4. the increasing usage of alternative PC operating systems to Microsoft Windows
  5. he uncertain adoption of the Windows 8 operating system, unexpected slowdowns in enterprise Windows 7 upgrades and the increasing substitution of smartphones and tablets for PCs
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