Tablet shipments to rocket by 53 percent in 2014; PCs to decline

Is there any end to the flogging of the nearly-dead PC horse? Latest figures suggest not so much, as lower-priced devices across all categories are driving growth.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor
Image: CNET

Latest Gartner figures show PCs, tablets, and mobile phones are expected to reach 2.32 billion units by the end of 2013, a 4.5 percent increase from a year earlier.

According to the research firm, lower-priced devices across all device categories are driving growth.

Breaking down the numbers a bit further, it is clear to see that tablets and smartphones are kicking the PC market while it's down. The latest projections show that while the traditional PC market, including desktops and notebooks, are expected to total 303 million units by the end of this year, accounting for a drop of more than 11 percent. In 2014, the PC market expected to drop even further to 281 million as tablets and smartphones pick up the slack. 

Tablets and smartphones are faring well, according to the figures. Tablet shipments alone are expected to grow by 53.4 percent this year, with shipments reaching 184 million units. However, it will take until past 2014 to overtake PC shipments altogether, which is expected to reach about 263 million.

Onto mobile phones, which are picking up the pace and have no let-up in sight. Already at the 1.7 million mark, in 2013 the mobile phone market is expected to rocket by more than 100 million, and just shy of that in 2014.

But mobile shipments are slowing, Gartner says. Once the crown jewels of the December holiday season — where sales are typically higher — the opportunity for high average selling price smartphones is ending. The focus is now, the firm says, on mid-tier and low-end Android-based smartphones in emerging markets.

According to Gartner's Carolina Milanesi, the firm is expecting to see a continued trend from last year during the holidays, notably an uptick in smaller tablets, as smartphone shipments wane.

Image: Gartner

One final nugget from the Gartner research bank: Android will retain the mobile platform crown for the next two years, taking more than 1.1 billion shipments by 2014.

While Windows remains flat in shipments — pegging in around the 350 million unit mark on average from 2012 through 2014 — the end-of-support for Windows XP in April 2014 is not expected to impact device sales. 

Gartner says 90 percent of large enterprises have already, or are making efforts to migrate to Windows 7 or Windows 8. It comes just a few weeks after Toshiba said the vast majority of its business upgraders from Windows XP are heading to Windows 7, and not Microsoft's latest operating system.

Meanwhile, Apple's mobile and desktop range will rocket in 2014, after remaining almost flat over the past two years, from 2012 to 2013. 

Image: Gartner
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