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Gartner Forecasts Tablet Shipments To Outpace PC Sales in 2015

Despite continual weak worldwide PC demand, total shipments of computing devices are on the rise this year due to the popularity of tablets.

That's the upshot of data released Thursday by market research firm Gartner, which projected a 6.6 percent year-over-year drop in worldwide PC shipments in 2014, totaling 277 million units. That's a slightly steeper decline for the PC market than the 6 percent IDC predicted earlier this month.

However, the overall computing device market -- which encompasses PCs, tablets, mobile phones and "ultramobiles" such as hybrid and clamshell devices -- is expected to jump by 6.9 percent in 2014, reaching 2.5 billion units. Over 1 billion of those units will run Android, the first platform to hit that milestone, according to Gartner. Windows and Windows Phone will ship on a total 340 million units.

Worldwide device shipments by segment (millions of units). Source: Gartner

"The traditional PC category continues to decrease," said Gartner Research Director Ranjit Atwal in a prepared statement, adding that only two-thirds of users looking to replace their notebook or desktop PCs will purchase another PC. The remaining third will switch to ultramobile devices, Atwal said.

By contrast, tablet shipments are expected to surge by 38.6 percent in 2014, totaling 271 million units. By next year, tablet shipments will outnumber PC shipments, according to Gartner's forecast; the firm projects 350 million unit shipments for tablets in 2015, compared to 263 million for PCs.

However, Gartner forecasts that fewer people will make the move from PC to tablet than in years past. Consumers are more becoming discriminating about what devices they purchase to fit their particular needs, according to Atwal.

"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," Atwal said.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the site editor of RCPmag.com.

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