No end in sight for gadget lust: PC, tablet, mobile sales still growing



Things might not be great if you’re a traditional PC maker. Headline after headline has been proclaiming your downfall for a good couple of years now. If you were clever though and diversified your business a little, then things suddenly don’t look so bad. We might not be buying the same gadgets we were a few years ago, but that doesn’t mean we’re any less hungry for them.

In fact, our appetite only appears to be growing. According to tech research company Gartner, combined shipments of devices (PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones) are projected to reach 2.5-billion units in 2014, a 6.9% increase from 2013.

While the global PC market will continue to hamper that growth, anyone not in the tablet space can at least take comfort in Gartner’s assertion that substitution of notebooks will start to dissipate from this year onward. That’s largely down to the fact that we’re realising that tablets are good at a lot of things but are pretty awful at performing a lot of other tasks.

That said, the tablet market is still expected to see decent growth in the next few years. Indeed, wide-scale adoption in markets outside the US should see it grow 38.6% this year.

Combine that kind of sustained growth with an increasing number of players in the market and the trend of declining prices is inevitable. That said, people aren’t just going to be interested in how much a device costs. Increasingly, they’ll start to value other features: new tablet users for instance will look for smaller screens and greater portability, while current tablet users look for better connectivity in their tablet replacements.

Device market space

Smartphones are also expected to continue growing, with devices at the lower end of the spectrum helping push the overall mobile market to reach 1.9-billion units in 2014, a 4.9% increase from 2013.

“While the lack of compelling hardware innovation marginally extended replacement cycles in 2013, we’ve witnessed an upgrade path in the emerging markets. Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, Asia/Pacific and Eastern Europe have all upgraded their phones, which will help to compensate for mature market weakness in the near term,” said Annette Zimmermann, principal research analyst at Gartner.

In the operating system (OS) market), Gartner reckons that iOS tablet growth has slowed in North America and Apple will need to reinvigorate its replacement cycle. Despite recent data showing that Apple sold more iOS devices and Macs combined than Windows PCS, Gartner still puts Windows well ahead of its Cupertino-based rival for at least the next couple of years. Perhaps it’s anticipating that Windows Phone devices will continue to drive Windows growth, especially in emerging markets (it already outsells the iPhone in a number of those markets).

Device shipments OS

Google’s objective meanwhile is to increase Android’s footprint, and Gartner reckons it is still on target to sell over one billion devices during 2014.



Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights. sign up

Welcome to Memeburn

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights.