Global shipments of display panels for tablet computers passed shipments of laptop displays for the first time in October, according to NPD DisplaySearch, which tracks consumer electronics trends, providing further evidence of the shift to tablet computing.
The number of laptop display panels shipped globally in October came to 16.9 million versus 18.7 million display panels for tablet computers, NPD found. The numbers are especially striking when compared with previous months.
The number of laptop display panels shipped is down from 21.4 million in June of this year, while the number of tablet display panels is more than double the 8.9 million shipped in January.
Earlier this month, NPD predicted that 21.5 million tablet computers will be sold in North America in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to just 14.6 million laptops. Looking further ahead, NPD expects that 80 million tablets will be sold in 2013, compared to 63.8 million laptops.
NPD attributed this surge in part to strong demand for cheaper tablet models, around the $199 price point, from Apple, Google, and Amazon.
To remain competitive, laptops need to carve out a new niche for themselves by moving up or down the price hierarchy. "The notebook PC may need to move to the high end with ultra-slim form factor, or to the low end, low-cost thick box, to compete," suggests NPD.
According to Pew, around 25% of U.S. adults owned a tablet computer in July. That's up from 19% in January 2012 and 5% in November 2010. Ownership rates increase in tandem with income. In the latest figures from Pew, 47% of adults with household incomes of $70,000 or more owned a tablet, compared to 27% of adults with household incomes from $30,000-$49,999.