The tablet takeover is likely to continue with Gartner forecasting a 10 per cent decline in traditional PC sales.
While combined tablet, PC and smartphone sales are forecast to rise 5.9 per cent in 2013, the respected analysts claim that traditional PC shipments will decline 10.6 per cent while tablets will gain 67.9 per cent.
This will take worldwide device sales to a projected 2.35 billion units in 2013, driven by sales in tablets, smartphones, and also according to Gartner, to a lesser extent ultramobiles, as PC shipments are on the decline.
The desk-based and notebook computer is likely to sell just 305 million units in 2013, while tablet shipments reach 202 million units and the mobile phone market grows 4.3 per cent, with volume of more than 1.8 billion units.
Gartner said that the decline in PC shipments was due both to changing consumer preferences but also manufacturers shifting their own focus.
Some analysts have put the precipitous nature of the decline down largely to Microsoft’s Windows 8 software, which failed to produce the sales boost many manufacturers had hoped for. Microsoft will announce an upgrade to Windows 8 later this week that will reinstate features consumers missed, including the Start button.
“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,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.
Gartner added, however, that new Intel processors would improve Windows 8 sales later in the year by allowing manufacturers to offer significantly improved designs and longer battery life. The analysts also warned that the burgeoning smartphone and tablet market itself faced long term challenges “”as these devices gain longer life cycles”. It claimed “There has also been a shift as many consumers go from premium tablets to basic tablets. The share of basic tablets is expected to increase faster than anticipated, as sales of the iPad Mini already represented 60 per cent of overall iOS sales in the first quarter of 2013.”
A growing proportion of all devices, Gartner said, would be brought by consumers as businesses accepted workers bringing their own devices to work.
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