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PC sales to decline again, says Gartner

Consumers want mobility with tablets and 'ultramobile' devices on the rise

Chillblast PC

Worldwide sales of desktop and notebook PCs are set to decline by more than 10 percent.

Shipments PCs and notebook laptops are projected at 305 million units for the year, according to Gartner. That's a decline of 10.6 percent compared with 2012 which the firm puts down to a need for mobility.

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"Consumers want anytime-anywhere computing that allows them to consume and create content with ease, but also share and access that content from a different portfolio of products. Mobility is paramount in both mature and emerging markets," said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.

It also said it was down to "an adjustment in the channel to make room for new products hitting the market in the second half of 2013".

Gartner said that in 2014 PC sales will slip further to 289 million units worldwide.

Device Type

2012

2013

2014

PC (Desk-Based and Notebook)

341,273

305,178

289,239

Ultramobile

9,787

20,301

39,824

Tablet

120,203

201,825

276,178

Mobile Phone

1,746,177

1,821,193

1901,188

Total

2,217,440

2,348,497

2,506,429

However, it predicts that the 'ultramobile' category made up of 'Chromebooks, thin and light clamshell designs, and slate and hybrid devices running Windows 8' will more than double this year compared to last year and do roughly the same again in 2014 reaching nearly 40 million units.

Analysts the attractiveness of this category will become more apparent later in the year when devices with Intel processors 'Bay Trail' and 'Haswell' running on Windows 8.1 will hit the market.

It's no surprise that Garnter predicts a big rise in the sales of both tablets and mobile phones. They are expected to reach shipping levels of 202 million and 1.8 billion units, representing growths of 67.9 percent and 4.3 percent respectively.

In terms of operating systems it is Google's Android which is way out in the lead with an expected total of 866 million units shipped this year. Microsoft's Windows comes in second with 339 million and Apple's iOS and Mac OS in third with 296 million.

See also: Android vs iPhone vs Windows Phone vs BlackBerry - what's the best mobile platform?

A growth is expected for all three operating systems looking forward to 2014, namely Android to more than 1 billion. BlackBerry and 'others' are forecast to decline in both 2013 and 2014.

Gartner said that the iPad mini represented 60 percent of overall iOS sales in the first quarter of this year. A shift of consumers opting for basic cheaper tablets over models has apparently occurred quicker than expected.

Operating System

2012

2013

2014

Android

505,509

866,781

1,061,270

Windows

346,464

339,545

378,142

iOS/MacOS

212,878

296,356

354,849

RIM

34,584

25,224

22,291

Others

1,118,004

820,592

689,877

Total

2,217,440

2,348,497

2,506,429

"Although the numbers seem to paint a clear picture of who the winner will be when it comes to operating systems in the device market the reality is that today ecosystem owners are challenged in having the same relevance in all segments," said Milanesi. "Apple is currently the more homogeneous presence across all device segments, while 90 percent of Android sales are currently in the mobile phone market and 85 percent of Microsoft sales are in the PC market."

On another side of things, with an increase of bring your own device (BYOD), there are more consumer-owned devices in the computing world. Gartner forecasts that computing devices bought by consumers will grow from 65 percent in 2013 to 72 percent in 2017, 'signifies the growing importance of designing for the consumer inside the enterprise'.

Follow Chris Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.


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