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Weekly Mobile Breakdown: Tablet Sales Outpace Notebook Sales

Tina Products/Markets Analyst
January 11, 2013

A few months back I touched upon the tablet’s increasing role in advertising.  This week, new data has been released implying that tablets may one day become consumers’ main computing device. According to a report released by NPD DisplaySearch this week, tablets are set to outsell notebooks this year for the first time, ever.  No surprise as notebooks’ share of PC sales has been declining since 2011 (chart below).


According to the data, the most popular tablet screen size in 2011 and 2012 was 9.7 inches (Apple’s iPad), which accounted for roughly 35% of tablets sold.  Starting in 2013, however, sales of mini tablets in the 7-8inch range are predicted to outpace sales of 9.7 inch tablets. As a matter of fact, starting in 2013, sales of 10.1 inch tablets will at least equal, if not, outpace sales of 9.7 inch tablets.  Although North America will remain the largest tablet PC market in 2013 with a 35% share of sales, this growth in tablet sales can be attributed to rising demand in emerging markets as well as the demand for and rapid availability of a large variety of screen sizes.


This rise in tablet sales over the next four years will certainly have a positive impact on mobile advertising as consumers spend more time on their tablets and away from their PCs, which would naturally lead to the tablet having a greater impact on brand metrics than would the PC. With Lenovo’s release of their 27 inch tablet this summer, let’s see how this would affect the tablet market and advertising. This also makes me wonder what other large screen sizes consumers will demand.



Based on the charts above, below are some key highlights and takeaways I think are important for mobile marketers & advertisers to consider.


  • Notebooks’ share of PC sales has been in decline since 2011.
  • At the end of 2017, tablet sales will comprise almost 75% of PC sales.
  • The tablet market will see increasing demand for tablets of smaller sizes such as the Kindle Fire and iPad Mini.
  • Sales of 9.7 inch tablets (e.g. the iPad) comprised  more than half of tablet sales in 2011, but will roughly equal sales of 10.1 inch tablets (e.g. larger Android tablets) by 2017.


  • In the not-too-distant future, tablets may become as ubiquitous as television sets.
  • Average time spent on tablet PCs will increase worldwide over the next four years.
  • Tablet advertising campaigns will have a greater impact on brand metrics.
  • There will be a day when mobile and tablet commerce sales will eclipse e-commerce sales.


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