Gartner: PC shipments slowdown is no temporary blip

Market watcher claims popularity of tablet devices will soon eat into PC refresh cycles.

Tablets

The global decline in PC sales is not a temporary blip, but suggests a long-term shift in end user preferences for mobile devices.

This is the view of market watcher Gartner in its latest market tracker, which monitors worldwide shipments of PC, tablets and mobile phones.

The analyst said it expects notebook and desktop PC shipments to decline by 7.6 per cent to 315 million units in 2013, while tablet shipments are predicted to experience year-on-year growth of 69.8 per cent and hit 197 million units.

Consumers no longer see their PC as a device that they need to replace on a regular basis.

Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, said falling prices and a growing array of devices will continue to fuel demand for tablets.

"Growth in the tablet segment will not be limited to mature markets alone," said Atwal.

"Users in emerging markets who are looking for a companion to their mobile phone will increasingly choose a tablet as their first computing device and not a PC," he added.

Gartner said the total number of PCs, tablets and mobile phones shipped will be nine per cent higher than in 2012 and is on course to top 2.4 billion units this year.

This upward trend is expected to continue, with Gartner forecasting that 2.9 billion units will be shipped in 2017.

Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, said the number of people who own both a traditional PC and a tablet will diminish over time, with many set to favour the latter form factor.

"While there will be some individuals who retain both a personal PC and a tablet, especially those who use either or both for work and play, most will be satisfied with the experience they get from a tablet as their main computing device," said Milanesi.

"As consumers shift their time away from their PC to tablets and smartphones, they will no longer see their PC as a device that they need to replace on a regular basis."

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