The analyst firm said that it is too soon to write off netbooks, and that it is only about a year since they were widely expected to revolutionise computing.
Bob O'Donnell, programme vice president for clients and displays at IDC, said in a Forecast and Analysis report that the most likely outcome is that netbooks and tablets will share the same space and act as "companion" devices.
"Given the range of capabilities and price points, it is very likely that consumers will acquire these devices in various combinations, simply delaying the purchase of a new laptop, for example, to add a media tablet or netbook as a companion to their main computing device," he said.
"Similarly, the arrival of media tablets has done little to diminish the demand for netbooks in the education market, particularly in developing countries where large government initiatives are gaining steam in the post-recession economy."
Sales of netbooks will continue to grow, and should hit 37.8 million units this year, an increase of around 10 per cent on last year, and 42.4 million units by 2014.
The leading vendors in terms of netbook market share are Asus, Acer, HP, Samsung and Dell, according to IDC.
IDC's report echoes earlier figures from ABI Research, which said that netbook sales will continue to be strong. However, ABI was less complimentary about the iPad and other tablets.
"Apple's claimed shipments of one million iPads in the first month are impressive starting from zero," said principal ABI analyst Jeff Orr. "But even our total media tablet forecast falls far short of what anyone would call mass-market adoption."
ABI predicted netbooks shipments of 58 million units this year.
US space agency believes the crater could have preserved ancient organic molecules from the water that flowed there billions of years ago
Valve quietly closes down hardware initiatives launched following Windows 8
Scientists create a virtual reality simulation of a black hole sitting at the centre of the Milky Way
Simulations like this can help people understand complicated systems in the universe in a better way
The most luminous galaxy ever discovered is cannibalising at least three of its smaller neighbours, study finds
The galaxy radiates at 350 trillion times the luminosity of the Sun