Tablet shipments to grow rapidly as PCs decline; Android rules the roost, says report

Tablet shipments to grow rapidly as PCs decline; Android rules the roost, says report

Summary: Another nugget from the Dept. of the Rather Obvious, tablet shipments are expected to grow by a massive 70 percent while PC and laptop shipments decline by 7.3 percent, while Android will remain the platform favorite by three-times its closest rival, all by 2017.

TOPICS: PCs, Laptops, Tablets

Gartner's latest figures on PCs, tablets and smartphones — collectively known as combined worldwide devices — are expected to hit 2.4 billion units this year, a 9 percent increase on the year before, according to the firm.

By 2017, the growth in this area is expected to hit 2.9 million, but the mix of these devices will change and shift over time, with a greater onus on portability and mobile devices.

The figures echo, for the most part, IDC's latest figures, released just over a week ago. The rival research firm said that tablet shipments will vastly outnumber PCs and laptops this year, and portable PCs will take much of the brunt the following year.

What's clear is that the mobile world is set to reign over all else, and the one behemothic PC empire is set to collapse around itself in the coming years.

"As consumers shift their time away from their PC to tablets and smartphones, they will no longer see their PC as a device that they need to replace on a regular basis," according to Gartner research vice president Carolina Milanesi in prepared remarks.

Breaking down the figures, while tablets, smartphones and ultramobile devices (tablets running full desktop operating systems, like the Surface Pro running Windows 8, for instance) are set to increase by just shy of 70 percent to 197 million units in 2013, the traditional PC market — including desk-based machines and laptops — is expected to decline by 7.6 percent. 

Gartner says this isn't a sudden change or a result of economic difficulties in Europe or further afield — as we know based on previous reports, it falls down to a change in user behavior over the long term.

Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 08.30.23
(Credit: Gartner)

It's grim reading for Microsoft as the overall shift towards mobile and ultramobile devices running Android is expected to outnumber Windows-based machines by nearly three times. Currently, with the rate of decline, by 2017 Android will have 1.46 million devices running the platform while Windows-based machines will peg around the half-million mark. 

This can be attributed to lower sales of Microsoft's Surface tablet, other Windows 8 and RT-based machines by end manufacturers, and an underlying slumping PC market.

Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 08.30.35
(Credit: Gartner)

This is where it gets interesting. Combined, by 2017 Android will have about the same overall share by shipments as its rivals put together.

Apple's iOS and Mac machines will fall just behind Windows as the third favorite platform — which isn't much of a surprise considering the growing unification between iOS and OS X, and the vast second-place market share Apple already has in the tablet space. But for the enterprise favorite, Apple currently holds the top spot, though  Android is increasingly gaining traction in the business space

"The trend towards smartphones and tablets will have much wider implications than hardware displacement," said Milanesi.

Correction at 1:15 p.m. ET: An earlier version of this story said Microsoft will have 1.46 million devices by 2017, when it should have said Android.

Topics: PCs, Laptops, Tablets

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  • Don't think so.

    "Apple's iOS and Mac machines will fall just behind Windows as the third favorite platform — which isn't much of a surprise considering the growing unification between iOS and OS X, and the vast second-place market share Apple already has in the tablet space. "

    Er... I don't think Apple is second place in the tablet space. Do you mean to write "the vast 1st place market share Apple already has in the tablet space?"
    • nope

      apple's products are WAAAAYYYY overpriced. I just picked up a 7 inch landscape style android tablet for $80. I assume it was made in china somewhere. Offbrand. Works pretty well, has a substantial set of software already on it and a vast set of apps I can download. It took about 2 minutes to put it on my network and less than that to connect to free wi-fi. It does not make phone calls but I have a phone already.
      Why would I pay five times that for an IPAD or IPOD or I-whatever and tolerate Apple dictating to me what I can install?
      • Not arguing

        Hey, man, I've got a Nexus 7 and an ASUS Transformer TF300. I'm not going to argue the merits of Android vs. iOS. I'm just saying that what the article says doesn't make much sense.
      • further

        there are two things that I would wish were better: the display is small (compared to my 10 inch HP touchpad with WebOS and compared to a 21 inch CRT from an old Compaq, and a 20 inch landscape LCD flatpanel from samsung, running off an HP tower and compaq/HP laptop respectively) I would like a larger display and I REALLY would like the android to handle my heavy java web apps that I use to do my job. So far, no joy on that front.
      • Dear Clueless

        If you're buying a number you'd have a valid argument but you're not, so you don't! You're just one of countless fools who get fixated on the price as opposed to what the device will actually do for you (factoring in the eco-system of software apps.). Android is an ultra-splitered nightmare of crapware -- there's no "go-to" App store (and doen't boar me with yawns about "Google Play") I firmly believe in Open Source but not Open Source to point where you have oodles of Android devices out in the wild (all running different versions of Android) -- App incompatibility anyone.

        Researching a locating a true value proposition involves far more than a "low price" that's just buying a number and deluding or bullshitting yourself.

        Apple is killing it with the iPad and the iPad mini and will continue to do so. There's a sea of Crap-droid tablets out there and Apple still far and away provides not just better hardware but a vastly superior end-user experience in both the consumer and business markets.

        Enjoy your brick of Samsung smartphone and your crappy CHEAP Android tablet and keep your non-reality based comments to yourself. What a clues tool you are!
        • Dear Fanboy

          Your turtle neck is too tight, the blood is not getting to your brain.
      • Overpriced or not doesn't seem to be having any effect on Apple's sales

        As such, the opening of your argument is automatically invalid. Sure, you can buy cheap Chinese "junk" (pun there) or some other bargain-basement Android device, but those devices lack the reliability that Apple or even Samsung (with its Galaxy series) offer. What good is an $80 tablet when you have to replace it in less than a year and sometimes inside of 90 days? You get what you pay for (and you pay for what you get).
    • Tablet market share

      They're not comparing specific vendors, they're comparing OS.

      IDC is predicting 49% market share for Android tablets versus 46% for IOS in 2013.

      However, there is already some data out, based on screen sizes that shows that iPad 9.7" devices are not growing anywhere near as well as expected, and that Android's market share has already significantly passed IOS.
      • Yep

        And the Nexus 7 replacement along with the new Archos Platinum line should create fits for the iPad and iPad Mini this year.
    • It is a future thing.

      The article is making a prediction about where things will be in 4 years. iOS / OS X will fall behind Windows and Android across conjoined platforms.
      • and the funny thing is

        that your prediction is probably as good as Gartner's. the chance that you got it right is about the same
  • Tablet shipments to grow rapidly as PCs decline; Android rules the roost, s

    Key word here is expected. Tablets are expected to grow while real world experience tells a completely different story. There are supposed to be billions of tablets out there but its rare for me to see one. People bought tablets and didn't use them. Now they are collecting dust on the night stand. Gartner has it all wrong.
    • Loverock-Davidson...I actually agree with allot of what you say.

      I don't really see many tablets in use either. I'm out at a Panera Bread type resturant every day and all I see is laptops. To me Tablets are Social media item (toys) that can do allot of things ok, but nothing great like a full functioning laptop or desktop can do. It a item that everyone will eventually have but for the most part rarely use in a business sense. For me it a great item you can take to the beach, take camping or on a trip....its a fun type item.

      But to think it will end Laptop or desktop sales is silly.

      The real reason desktop have slowed down is simple......desktops are so powerful and last so much longer that their is less and less reason to keep upgrading them. The reason XP is still around at 38% market share is, its not totally out dated in being able to actually function in todays day to day world. W-XP would never go away if Microsoft would continue to support it...............XP still has a very nice UI that MANY people still like...........
      Over and Out
      • I now know quite a few tablet owners.

        It used to be 3-4 iPad owners, now its close to 7-8 tablet owners of several brands. I know 2 who bring them to work for limited purposes. Unltil something big changes, like a full blown popular OS on a work sized tablet comes along, thats never going to change.

        Hey...wait a minute..thats the Microsoft WIndows Surface Pro! Ok, so one company has done it and leads the pack in the right area for future dominance. But it sounds to me that its not going to lead to a problem for Microsoft. Far from it.
    • "real world experience" ...

      of which you apparently have none.
    • What world do you live in?

      Go outside and visit a coffee shop or a library and you will see all kinds of tablets getting used. I live in a small midwestern town where there are not many early adopters of technology and yet I still frequently see people using tablets. They are becoming more and more common. It used to be just Ipads that I saw, but the Kindle Fire is becoming more and more common. Many of the people who would probably be buying computers are now buying tablets.

      I just got a Nexus 7 a month ago, and I now spend as much time using it as I do my laptop. I am surprised by how much I really like the form factor. I read on it all the time, and I do much of my daily business & correspondence on it. For many people it is exactly what they need and all they need for their regular computer use. Now I still have and need a laptop, but tablet purchase has simply put off another laptop purchase for at least a year, maybe more.
    • Real world....

      I'm sitting in a Starbucks in Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada at the moment. I see 2 Windows laptops, one MacBook, 3 iPads, 2 7" Android tablets and more iPhone/Android/whatevers than I care to count. Also two Kobo ereaders though I doubt either is being used to browse the web.

      This is pretty typical of what I see everywhere these days. Perhaps Canadians are just more willing to bring their devices with them?
  • Lovely data

    And how many of these devices are Kindle tablets? Not saying it isn't an Android, but these are hardly replacement device for a student nor most professionals. They are mostly portals to Amazon Cloud services and Amazon in general.
    Also, what happens to this data when Samsung drops Android (and Microsoft) next year with Tizen? They own Android market share in phones...

    I'm sure everyone is shaking in their boots as a result of this data. Android is priced the lowest right now. If Microsoft or Apple do the same then things will balance out. Truthfully, Apple has always priced itself as a premium brand and I'd be shocked to see this change. Microsoft looks like they might be willing to wake up to the fact people now a day care more about price.
    • Tizen

      Samsung is not going to be dropping Android "next year." That would kill their mobile business over night. If they do have long-term plans for Tizen to become a viable alternative ti iOS and Android it will take years of building a viable alternative ecosystem.
  • sad

    Jessi Atwal