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June 18, 2013


Tablet IC Sales Forecast to Rise 37% in 2013; PC IC Sales Forecast to Fall 2%

New market Update shows integrated circuit revenues for tablets hitting $27 billion in 2016.

Ongoing weakness in notebook personal computers will be offset by stronger unit growth of touch-screen tablets—especially smaller “mini” systems with 7- and 8-inch displays—resulting in a 4% increase in integrated circuit sales for all types of personal computing products this year, says a new update of IC Insights’ 2013 edition of IC Market Drivers—A Study of Emerging and Major End-Use Applications Fueling Demand for Integrated Circuits.  Combined IC sales for standard PCs, tablets, and new cloud-computing portables are forecast to reach $77.6 billion in 2013 compared to $74.9 billion in 2012, when the total fell 6% from $79.6 billion in 2011, according to the 2Q13 update to the IC Market Drivers report.

IC Insights is now forecasting a 2% decline in integrated circuit sales for keyboard-equipped standard PCs (desktops and notebooks) to $62.5 billion in 2013, following drops of 12% in 2012 and 7% in 2011.  IC sales for standard PCs are slumping primarily due to slowing shipments of notebook computers, which are being superseded by tablets in consumer computing markets worldwide.  IC sales for tablet computers are forecast to rise 37% to $14.7 billion in 2013 after climbing 77% in 2012 and 190% in 2011 (see figure).

In the new update to the IC Market Drivers report, IC Insights is raising its forecast for tablet unit shipments to 190 million systems worldwide in 2013, which would be a 62% increase from 117 million in 2012.  The forecast for standard PC shipments has been lowered to 347 million units in 2013, which is slightly less than a 1% increase from 344 million units in 2012.  IC Insights’ new forecast continues to show tablet unit shipments surpassing desktop PCs in 2013 (190 million tablets versus 150 million desktop PCs).  The updated forecast also continues to show tablet shipments exceeding notebook unit volumes in 2014, but the gap has been increased—253 million tablets versus 210 million notebook PCs next year.

IC Insights believes it now takes the sale of nearly 2.3 tablets to roughly equal the IC dollar value of one notebook PC.  The average IC content of a tablet computer is estimated at $77.50.  Nearly all tablets today are made with 32-bit microprocessors, which are often similar to application processors found in smartphones.  The vast majority of tablet processors are built with RISC cores licensed from ARM in the U.K. instead of the x86 MPU architecture used in microprocessors sold by Intel and Advanced Micro Devices for standard PCs.  ARM-based tablet microprocessors have much lower average selling prices (ASPs) than x86 MPUs—often 20% or less than the ASPs of PC processors.  Most tablet processors are also system-on-chip (SoC) designs with integrated graphics and many system-level functions, which reduce the need for a number of ICs and chipsets that have populated notebook PC motherboards.  Tablets also contain less DRAM memory than standard PCs, but they use NAND flash for internal storage instead of hard-disk drives.

The outlook for tablet IC sales has been increased with revenues projected to rise by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 25% between 2012 and 2016, reaching $26.6 billion in the final forecast year.  IC sales for standard PCs are now expected to grow by a CAGR of nearly 2% in the four-year period to $68.5 billion in 2016.  IC sales for new cloud-computing portable systems—such as Google’s Chromebook platform—are forecast to increase by a CAGR of 41%, from about $500 million in 2012 to $1.8 billion in 2016.  These Internet-centric portables must be connected online to the web to fully function.   Low-cost cloud-computing portables are expected to be a small-but-fast growing market niche, reaching 27 million systems in 2016 compared to 5 million in 2012, according to IC Insights’ new market update report.

Report Details:  IC Market Drivers 2013

IC Market Drivers 2013—A Study of Emerging and Major End-Use Applications Fueling Demand for Integrated Circuits examines the largest, existing system opportunities for ICs and evaluates the potential for new applications that are expected to help fuel the market for ICs.

IC Market Drivers is divided into two parts.  Part 1 provides a detailed forecast of the IC industry by system type, by region, and by IC product type through 2016.  In Part 2, the IC Market Drivers report examines and evaluates key existing and emerging end-use applications that will support and propel the IC industry through 2016.  Some of these applications include the automotive market, cellular phones (including smartphones), personal/mobile computing (including tablets and Ultrabooks), wireless networks, digital imaging, and a review of many applications to watch—those that may potentially provide significant opportunity for IC suppliers later this decade.  The IC Market Drivers 2013 report is priced at $3,190 for an individual-user license and $6,290 for a multi-user corporate license.

A 137-page Update to the 2013 IC Market Drivers report (with more than 80 figures) was released to subscribers in early June and includes a full revision to Part 1 as well as the latest forecast information on the automotive, cellphone (including smartphones), PC (including tablets), digital TV, and wireless networking IC markets.

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