Net-enabled devices to overtake PCs online in 2013

By 2015 there'll be 780 million net-enabled devices shipped
Darren Allan

August 15, 2011

Font of much research iSuppli has produced another report, this one examining the rise of the Internet connected consumer electronics product.

These are video games consoles, smart TVs, set-top boxes, tablets and Blu-ray players which are net-enabled, hooked up to allow users to play games, stream films or partake of other online activities.

Last year, the number of these devices shipped was 161 million, but iSuppli expects this to more than treble by 2013, reaching the 500 million mark worldwide.

And that will mean there are more net-enabled devices being purchased than PCs, as PC shipments are predicted to be 434 million in 2013 (up from 345 million now).

By 2015, according to iSuppli’s guess-timates, there will be coming on for double the amount of net-enabled devices online as opposed to PCs, with the number increasing to 780 million, versus very modest PC growth predicted at 479 million.

Jordan Selburn, Principal Analyst for Consumer Platforms, commented: “These new figures are the latest evidence that the Internet is not just for PCs anymore. The Internet now is revolutionizing the consumer electronics business by delivering a range of products that can bring web-based content to homes.”

“In the future, consumers will be more likely to access the Internet through their televisions than via their PCs.”

Of course, it will be the tablet, which has exploded in popularity since the iPad sprang forth, which will lead the charge against the PC online.

In 2010, the top net-enabled devices were consoles with a shipment volume of 50 million, exceeding smart TVs at 40 million. Tablets are expected to grab that top spot this year, however, with 62 million projected, triple 2010’s figure of 20 million.

The prediction for 2015 is a monstrous 300 million tablets (of the 780 million net-enabled devices in total).

iSuppli notes that it hasn’t included smartphones as net-enabled consumer electronics, as they are counted as wireless communication devices by the firm – and strictly speaking, so should tablets.

iSuppli comments that even though it “officially designates tablets as wireless devices, they are being included in the Internet-enabled consumer electronics category because of the key role they are playing in the market for the connected home.”

In other words, tablets are being used to hook up to the TV and stream video content to the big screen, or push music to an audio system, and other such functions within the digital home.

It’s a debatable issue but we can see their point. Even so, if you discounted tablets from the equation, net-enabled devices would still be up to 480 million in 2015, which would equal PC volumes just counting smart TVs and the like.


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