PC Decline, Tablet Growth to Continue in 2014

January 08, 2014
By: Rory Lidstone

It’s more or less common knowledge at this point that PC sales are sinking while tablet sales are on the rise. Indeed, the third quarter of 2013 was the lowest back-to-school quarter since 2008, with the fourth quarter marking the first time tablet shipments would exceed PC shipments. Now, a new report from Gartner (News - Alert) suggests this trend will continue throughout 2014 and beyond.

Indeed, the research firm’s annual devices forecast states that 2014 will be, without a doubt, the year of mobile devices and, if you want to get more specific, the year of Android (News - Alert). This is because, of the projected 2.5 billion PC, tablet and mobile shipments for this year, 1.9 billion will be mobile handsets, while 1.1 billion devices will be running Google’s (News - Alert) mobile OS.

As for PCs, while Gartner claims shipments fell just short of 300 million in 2013, it expects this number to slip to around 278 million in 2014. On the flipside, “ultramobiles” — Gartner’s term for tablets as well as harder to define devices like phablets — will surpass 300 million shipments overall, with tablets alone accounting for 263 million units.

However, this doesn’t mean the death of the PC is imminent because, although PC shipments are expected to drop again in 2015, it will be a fairly minor decline to just shy of 270 million. That said, tablet shipments are to reach 324 million that same year, with ultramobiles altogether approaching 400 million shipped units.

In terms of operating systems, Android will account for almost 45 percent of all device shipments this year, up from 38 percent in 2013. By 2015, this figure is expected to grow to 48 percent. In other words, it’s not so much the PC that needs to worry, but rather Microsoft.

Apple (News - Alert) also has cause to worry as Android’s installed base in 2013 sat around 1.9 billion devices, while OS X and iOS together sat at 682 million.




Edited by Cassandra Tucker