Analysts Do Not See A Shrinking PC Market As Had Been Projected
July 7, 2014

Analysts Do Not See A Shrinking PC Market As Had Been Projected

Peter Suciu for - Your Universe Online

The rumors of the death of the PC have been – in the words of Mark Twain – "greatly exaggerated." In fact, according to a new report published on Monday by Gartner, the worldwide PC market could actually see a relative revival in 2014 while the tablets – the devices that were allegedly "killing the PC" – could see a slow down this year.

While worldwide shipments for PCs did fall 9.5 percent in 2013 there could be a turnaround this year; the global PC market including PCs, notebooks and premium ultramobiles, is now on pace to contract by only 2.9 percent in 2014, suggesting that the bottom isn't falling out for these devices.

"2014 will be marked by a relative revival of the global PC market," Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, said in a statement. "Business upgrades from Windows XP and the general business replacement cycle will lessen the downward trend, especially in Western Europe. This year, we anticipate nearly 60 million professional PC replacements in mature markets." The traditional PC market (desk-based and notebook) will follow the same downward trend and is on pace to contract 6.7 percent in 2014 and 5.3 percent in 2015."

Moreover the worldwide shipment of electronic computing devices including PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones, could reach 2.4 billion units. That is up 4.2 percent from 2013. Tablets however could see a slowdown reaching 256 million units in 2014. While that is an increase of 23.9 percent from 2013 Gartner is forecasting that traditional tablet sales could slow.

Part of this will be driven by lower demand from users for tablet devices with smaller screens in favor of larger screens in mature markets, as well as a shift towards the phablets – smartphones with larger displays that bridge the gap between traditional tablets and mobile smartphones – emerging markets including South-East Asia.

"The next wave of adoption will be driven by lower price points rather than superior functionality," noted Atwal.

Phablets could be the next big thing as consumers look to carry one less device and see a combination tablet/smartphone as an option.

"We are still in a trial and error phase when it comes to mobile device form factors," Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics told redOrbit. "Manufactures rather rely on real market demand than focus groups and have been positively surprised that larger form factors have more demand than they thought as we pendulum swings from small to large. The benefit a larger device offers is a bigger screen and bigger/same size battery as the volume of the device grows quicker than the circumference. Today's mobile devices are all about the screen."

Beyond PCs and tablets, Gartner also forecast that smartphones could make up 66 percent of global mobile phone sales this year, and potentially reach 88 percent by 2018. Mobile phone sales are expected to reach 1.9 billion units in 2014, up by 3.1 percent from 2013.

Android and iOS are also expected to continue to drive the growth in smartphones with 30 percent and 15 percent increase respectively in market share. Windows devices will also see an increase.

"We expect the announcement of the new Apple iPhone 6 will attract pent-up demand for users who want a larger screen," added Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner. "Windows phones will exhibit strong growth from a low base in 2014, and are projected to reach a 10 percent market share by 2018 — up from 4 percent in 2014."


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