Worldwide combined shipments of devices – including PCs, tablets and mobile phones – are projected to reach 2.5 billion units in 2014, up 6.9 percent from 2013, according to market research firm Gartner.
That would be an improvement on 2013, when shipments grew just 4.8 percent, Gartner says. However, to the surpise of many, it reckons sales of traditional PCs will continue to hamper the overall growth of devices, and substitutions from PC to tablet will decline.
Gartner expects 276.7 million PCs to ship to retailers in 2014, a figure that will slip further to 263 million units in 2015.
The researcher says that in recent years, two-thirds of laptop and desktop owners have already replaced their hardware with updated models; of the remaining one-third, most replaced their old machines with tablets or tablet hybrids, said Gartner analyst Ranjit Atwal.
The recent trend toward replacing laptops with tablets will decline in 2014, because both consumers and businesses will become more discriminating as they sort out “the right device for the right usage pattern,” Atwal said.
“Tablet substitution of notebooks will start to dissipate from this year onwards as consumers and businesses align the right device with the right usage pattern. As they do this, we will see where dedicated devices (such as tablets), or hybrid devices (detachable or convertible devices), fit in the overall portfolio of devices,” he said.
Gartner estimates that sales of mobile phones, the largest segment of the overall device market, will reach 1.9 billion units in 2014, up 4.9 percent. The growth is expected to come from the lower end of the premium phone market and the higher end of the basic phone market.
In 2014, the worldwide tablet market will grow 38.6 percent as overall adoption continues to grow faster in markets outside North America, Gartner says.
“The adoption of tablets has been largely concentrated in the US with the dominance of Apple. Market dynamics in other regions are different, as the uptake of lower cost, smaller, non-branded tablets, becomes more apparent,” said Atwal.