Forrester Research: Tablets Will Only Steal Sales From… Desktops?

 

What other conclusion can be drawn from the graph? From 2010, netbook sales barely change (18 to 17%), and laptops barely change (44 to 42%). With the tablet rising from 6 to 23%, it all comes out of desktop share (32 to 18%).

Um…

Forrester’s report is questionable right up front. It predicts sales of 3.5M tablets this year, and 20.4M in 2015. Those numbers are so low it’s ridiculous. Apple is already over 2M sales this year; Forrester thinks they can’t even double that by December 31? Thats nuts. Apple will hit 8M or more this year, and who knows what other tablet players will join the game in the coming months.

As for netbooks, I disagree their sales percentage will remain steady over the next five years. Their sales growth is already slowing. People are figuring out they’re not the “laptop” they promise to be. Netbooks have all the headaches of PCs without the size or power to have enough of the benefits. Cheap laptops make better sense, and a tablet even more-so. Netbooks’ day in the sun is nearing its end; I see a pretty small trickle five years hence. 

Regarding laptops, they’ll feel the pinch of tablets getting faster with more sophisticated software, which won’t take long. Look at where the software is already: iWork or Documents To Go productivity suites; Photogene for great image editing; Reel Director or iMovie for iPhone (iPad won’t be far behind) for video, etc. And these are here now, imagine what we’ll have in just a year. I could argue these apps are already close to doing what the majority of consumers need in these areas. There are certainly rough edges, but they’ll get smoothed. Laptops are going to feel the heat sooner than Forrester imagines.

I agree on desktops’ decline, but that’s already happening and has been for a while. Laptops have eaten their lunch in the past, but tablets will encroach on laptops as explained above. 

The tablet form factor is going to be huge. I’m already on record that it’s how “all” computers will work someday, and I don’t think critical mass will take as long as the GUI did, which is apparently what Forrester is expecting.

Just 20M tablets sold in 2015? They’ll pass that number in 2012. Netbook and laptop percentage will decline more than Forrester is predicting, and tablet percentages will be higher. Forrester’s report seems written to appease those vested in the status quo, but it doesn’t make it realistic.