Gartner Report Forecasts Increase in Global Device Shipments

A new report from Gartner forecasts that combined global shipments of PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones will reach 2.5 billion units in 2014, a 6.9 percent jump from the previous year (device shipments increased 4.8 percent in 2013). Gartner also predicts that the drop in sales of traditional PCs will continue to impact overall growth of devices, and the trend of substituting tablets for PCs will decline. As device saturation reaches a new high, pressure on margins is expected to lead to declining prices and emphasis on new features.

“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,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. “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.”

“As the overall device market starts to saturate, the increasing pressure on margins will continue, and vendors will look at different ways to cope with the ongoing issue of lower margins,” suggests Gartner. “While the trend of declining prices is inevitable, consumers increasingly value other features in a device — beyond just the price. For example, new tablet users look for smaller screens and greater portability, while current tablet users look for better connectivity in their tablet replacements.”

While worldwide shipments of mobile phones and tablets are expected to increase this year, Gartner anticipates a 6.6 percent decline in traditional PCs (see chart above).

“The traditional PC category continues to decrease, with only about two-thirds of notebook and desktop replacements remaining within this category. The majority of the remaining one-third will move to ultramobiles, while others will not be replaced at all,” said Atwal.