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PCs are making a comeback and tablet sales are slowing down, says Gartner

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Well, I hope you didn’t put all of your chips on the side of PCs dying a quick and painful death and tablets eating the world — looks like PCs may be making a comeback.

The personal computer (PC) market is on track to only shrink by 2.9 percent this year as compared to 2013, and tablet sales will be slowing down, according to the latest research from market research firm Gartner.

To be specific, Gartner separates the PC market into two categories. The first one includes desktop, laptop, and ultramobile devices (such as the Macbook Air or hybrids like the Surface Pro 3), and is set to contract only by 2.9 percent in 2014 in comparison to its 9.5 percent drop in 2013.

The other category, which only includes traditional desktop and laptop devices, is also seeing a revival as it’s set to shrink by 6.7 percent this year, and only by 5.3 percent in 2015. Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal is calling this the “revival of the global PC market.”

Atwal attributes this trend to the death of Windows XP, i.e. the need for everyone, especially businesses, to upgrade their machines. Gartner expects about 60 million professional PC devices to be replaced because of this.

The other interesting piece of this report is the expected slowdown of tablet sales. Gartner is predicting an increase of 23.9 percent in tablet sales from last year. In addition to a shift towards phablets (those huge smartphones that are just a tiny bit smaller than a tablet) in South-East Asia, there is also a lower demand for tablets with smaller screens overall.

“The next wave of adoption will be driven by lower price points rather than superior functionality,” said Atwal in an official statement. As tablet prices are coming down, they’re becoming a more attainable gadget that people can now own, instead of being the more powerful cousin to the smaller smartphone people have been buying in order to have both.

And in the operating systems department, Android and iOS are still coming out on top, with predicted growth rates of 30 percent and 15 percent respectively. However, with the expected release of larger-screened iPhones in the fall, Gartner is predicting it will drive a strong increase in iOS growth as it will finally enable Apple to grab a bite out of that group of smartphone owners.

Gartner is also predicting that although Windows phones only have a 4 percent market share this year, it’s slated to have about 10 percent by 2018 — that should surely be interesting to watch.

More information:

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senio... read more »

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23 comments
Forest Yule
Forest Yule

I've always felt that "phablets" would kill the traditional tablet...I still want a laptop, but I want my phone to sync to that. I use my iPad as a gaming and netflix platform almost exclusively now.

Satyajit Sahu
Satyajit Sahu

PCs can now proudly be presented as "Post-Tablet" devices :-)

Rafael Kireyev
Rafael Kireyev

I think that Windows has great prospects and therefore Apple should think about switching to Android.

Rafael Kireyev
Rafael Kireyev

I think that Windows has great prospects and therefore Apple should think about switching to Android.

Klancy Kennedy
Klancy Kennedy

They never had the potential to replace larger PCs... People that are familiar with tech understand that tablets are way way behind PCs when it comes to graphic performance, storage, RAM, power, cooling, etc. Pretty much every category. Same thing as laptops vs computers. However, most of that only matters for gamers, and professionals that need to get actual work done which is processor intensive.

Steve Mahoney
Steve Mahoney

MacBook Air - Yep - The choice for people at Work if they are allowed to offer an opinion to the CIO Overlord

Brandon Jepson
Brandon Jepson

Everyone's got a tablet now hence sales are slowing down. The newest Ipad is not so much better as to justify ditching your current model. And they just don't have the same functionality as a laptop. The closest thing these days is the Surface Pro 3 but I think we're still not there.\

Wendy Sue Buckleman
Wendy Sue Buckleman

Stop fighting over the initiated and go out there and get the newbies any way you can!

Marcus Engene
Marcus Engene

Evidently everyone that needed something to read at the loo has got a tablet by now.

Paul Vance
Paul Vance

I thought so, tablets are limited to basic tasks, thanks venturebeat

Matt Sven
Matt Sven

Not surprised...Even if their processing power and functionality were the same as a laptop, I think they have too small of a screen for every day (primary) use.

Honey Brown
Honey Brown

You need something like the Surface Pro 3 to replace a desktop.

Nirmala Erway
Nirmala Erway

So....PC sales are going down 2.9% and tablet sales are going up 23.9%....and that is a comeback for PCs and a slowing down for tablets? I think maybe someone should study some basic math. 


The rate of sales of tablets may be slowing down, but the actual sales are speeding up.

Bill Taylor
Bill Taylor

@Nirmala Erway tablet sales increased 70% last year and were supposed to increase even more this year. PC were supposed to tank an additional 10%. Instead we have tablet fatigue and PC's are starting to bottom out. 


Tablets just aren't that useful. PC's (and I include Macs in that) are on the other hand incredibly useful. 


We will have a phablet which will take over a phone and tablet and then we will have a PC/laptop. Why because usefullness wins in the long run.

Nirmala Erway
Nirmala Erway

@Bill Taylor 

Yes, tablet sales are doing worse than expected, but still tablet sales are speeding up, not slowing down.

As a metaphor, when a car goes from 0 to 60 in the first 6 seconds, and then just from 60 to 90 in the next 6 seconds, the rate of increase in speed is lower, but the car is still speeding up during the latter 6 seconds.

So when tablet sales increase over last years record sales, that is still a case where sales are speeding up, not slowing down. The title of the article is misleading because it makes it sound like fewer tablets will be sold this year than last year.

Similarly, the title makes it sound like more PCs will be sold, when in fact sales are still slowing for PCs.