Mobile

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

Computer hands hackny flickr
Image Credit: hackNY.org/Flickr

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.


Mobile developer or publisher? VentureBeat is studying mobile marketing automation. Fill out our 5-minute survey, and we'll share the data with you.