Gadgets

Tablet shipments to grow 53.4% in 2013, PCs to fall 8.4%

Above: Apple's iPad Mini

Image Credit: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

It’s a familiar picture for the gadget world: Tablets are on the way up, while traditional PCs are on the decline, according to the latest data from the research firm Gartner.

While the firm expects a 4.5 percent increase of all computing devices this year, that will be mostly led by cheaper gadgets. Tablets shipments will increase by 53.4 percent in 2013, while PC shipments — including desktops, laptops, and “ultramobiles” — will fall by 8.4 percent.

Gartner considers ultramobiles to be thin and light computers that also function as hybrid tablets. Looking at the PC market without that category (which is actually doubling in shipments this year) makes the situation even worse for traditional desktops and laptops, which Gartner expects to decline by 11.2 percent this year. Gartner also expects mobile phone shipments to grow by 3.7 percent this year.

The findings aren’t too surprising, as tablets continue to become cheaper and more capable every year. At this point, desktops mainly appeal to gamers and people working in specialized fields, not typical consumers. Laptops have gone a long way towards replacing desktops over the past year, but even they won’t be able to withstand the onslaught of cheaper tablets, and hybrid ultramobiles.

“Although the preference is for dedicated devices, we see the opportunity for hybrid ultramobile to marry the functionality of a PC and the form factor of the tablet. Users that have to balance work and play will find that the advantage of buying and carrying one device outweighs the compromise in the full experience that single devices can deliver,” said Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal. “Users who are not limited by their disposable income will likely have a basic tablet as a companion device to their ultramobile on which most of their consumption activities will take place.”

Check out Gartner’s latest data below:

Table 1

Worldwide Device Shipments by Segment (Thousands of Units)

Device Type

2012

2013

2014

PC (Desk-Based and Notebook)

341,273

303,100

281,568

Ultramobile

9,787

18,598

39,896

Tablet

120,203

184,431

263,229

Mobile Phone

1,746,177

1,810,304

1,905,030

Total

2,217,440

2,316,433

2,489,723

Source: Gartner (October 2013)

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