Research giant Gartner Monday released new figures confirming the growth of tablets and the decline of PCs are set to continue through 2013 and into 2014. However, the numbers point to a changing market for tablets and a potential rescue for ailing PC and laptop demand.
While the overall shipment of PCs, mobile phones and tablets is expected to rise by just 5.9 percent this year, PC shipments of both desktops and notebooks will slide lower by more than ten percent. Worldwide mobile phone shipments should increase a modest 4.3 percent while tablets lead consumer demand for mobility, shipments jumping by 67.9 percent this year, according to the research firm…
“Consumers want anytime-anywhere computing that allows them to consume and create content with ease, but also share and access that content from a different portfolio of products. Mobility is paramount in both mature and emerging markets,” Carolina Milanesi, a Gartner research director, said in a statement.
For the PC industry, which has seen declines over several quarters, there could be a new segment able to slow the bleeding.
So-called ultrabooks, which Gartner defines as Chromebooks, thin and light clamshell designs, as well as slate and hybrid devices using Windows 8, “are gaining in attractiveness and drawing demand away from other devices.”
That attraction should reach a peak in the fourth quarter as designs employ Intel’s Bay Trail and Haswell chips running on Windows 8.1, Gartner announced.
While tablet shipments and mobile phone demand continues to climb, both devices are expected to face a changing marketplace.
Increasingly, tablet buyers are opting for basic devices over premium products. Already, the iPad mini accounts for 60 percent of iPad sales, according to Gartner.
Here’s Bill Gates on Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Microsoft Surface, from eight monts ago.
Additionally, fewer consumers are purchasing new tablets, instead concentrating on software upgrades. This longer upgrade path is what has bedeviled Microsoft in the corporate world for years.
Another challenge for tablet sales is there will be a “split between basic tablets and ultramobile devices,” said Ranjit Atwal, Gartner research director.
The mobile phone landscape is also expected to encounter changes, particularly amid growing demand for smartphones.
“The challenge in the smartphone market is also that, as penetration moves more and more to the mass market, price points are lowering and in most cases so do margins,” Atwal said.
Although Google’s Android continues to lead as the most-common operating system being shipped with devices, Apple’s iOS may be best suited for a changing ecosystem where companies must compete across a number of areas, not just in phones, tablets or PCs.
“Apple is currently the more homogeneous presence across all device segments, while 90 percent of Android sales are currently in the mobile phone market and 85 percent of Microsoft sales are in the PC market,” said Milanesi.