Worldwide Tablet, Mobile Phone Market Expected To Keep Growing
October 21, 2013

Worldwide Tablet, Mobile Phone Market Expected To Keep Growing

Peter Suciu for - Your Universe Online

PC shipments are set to decline 8.4 percent this year, while tablet shipments could increase by more than 50 percent.

On Monday, research firm Gartner released its latest forecast, which comes just a week after a Pew Research Center study found the tablet and/or e-book reader market for those over the age of 16 standing at 43 percent.

Gartner's report forecasts that worldwide shipments of traditional PCs, including both desktops and notebooks, will see an 11.2 percent decline in sales from 2012, with total sales reaching just 303 million units this year. The PC market, which further includes ultra-mobile PC devices, is also set to decline 8.4 percent this year.

By contrast, the forecast from the research firm projects that mobile phone shipments will increase by 3.7 percent, with volume reaching more than 1.8 million units. Tablet devices are also expected to grow 53.4 percent in 2013, with shipments reaching 184 million units.

Lower priced devices, especially those in the burgeoning 7-inch category, will drive much of the growth in the tablet sector. Gartner’s research surveys have found that consumers prefer smaller form factors for content consumption, including watching videos and playing games. The study, which was conducted in Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, the UK, the US and Japan, confirmed that smaller appears to be better when it comes to consumer tablets.

The survey found that the average size of the portable devices ranged from 8.3 inches to 9.5 inches, and that 47 percent of the 21,500 consumers surveyed owned a tablet that was 8-inches or less.

The research firm also noted that there is much in the way of transition, both in the components going into the devices and the operating systems. Gartner noted that Android will remain the leading smartphone operating system and will account for 38 percent of all shipments in 2013, while Windows OS devices – including smartphones, tablets and notably PCs – are expected to see an overall decline of 4.3 percent this year.

Yet, Gartner does predict that Windows will see a 9.7 percent increase next year, as Intel rolls out its Bay Trail and Haswell processors for Windows 8.1 based products, including those in ultra-mobile devices.

“While consumers will be bombarded with ads for the new ultramobile devices, we expect their attention to be grabbed but not necessarily their money,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. "Continuing on the trend we saw last year, we expect this holiday season to be all about smaller tablets as even the long-term holiday favorite — the smartphone — loses its appeal.”

Ultra-mobile as a category will also likely expand.

“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, Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, said in a statement. “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.”