As we reach the end of 2013, analyst houses are posting their figures for the year that has been. Tablet computing has once again been a huge theme, and, to that point, IDC’s latest figures estimate that industry shipments will reach 221.3 million units by the end of the year — a 53.5 percent increase on last year.

IDC’s estimate — which is actually lower than its previous prediction of 227.4 million for 2013 — puts Android ahead with nearly 61 percent market share, ahead of iOS (35 percent) while Windows lagging on 3.4 percent.

The analyst firm predicts that, while shipments will increase again in 2014 (to 270.5 million units), growth will slow to 22.2 percent year-on-year.

It is lowering its prediction for the year because it believes that large-sized smartphones are cannibalizing demand for smaller-sized tablets in some regions. IDC is almost certainly referring to Asia here, since Research Director Tom Mainelli says “we’re less concerned about big phones cannibalizing shipments [in the US] and more worried about market saturation.”

Looking at the market in five years — an activity fraught with ifs, buts and uncertainties — IDC predicts growth will slow to single-digit percentages (year-on-year) with shipments peaking at 386.3 million units in 2017.

tablets 520x320 IDC estimates 221m tablets shipped in 2013; Android top with 61%, then iOS 35% and Windows 3%On the subject of Microsoft and its Windows platforms for tablets, IDC says it is not expecting to see a lot of traction for the devices during this Christmas period, although Microsoft, Intel and other partners will likely mount “a huge push” with marketing and advertising.

Interestingly though, Microsoft is expected to perform better in the longer term. IDC predicts tablets based on Windows will own 10 percent of the market by 2017, by which time Android is estimated to have peaked with a fraction under 60 percent market share — a decrease on IDC’s prediction for the Google-owned system in 2014.

Related: Strategy Analytics: Tablets will ship in higher volumes than mobile PCs for the first time in 2013

Headline image via Zallio / Flickr