Rising shipments of mobile and tablet devices will help offset the decline of PC sales in 2013, according to the latest research from Gartner.
The analyst house said that shipments will rise by 4.5 percent from 2012 to 2.32 billion units thanks in part to the growth of tablet shipments to 184 million units, up 42.7 percent on 2012.
Mobile device shipments will grow 3.7 percent to 1.8 billion. This will help make up for declining PC sales from 341 million to 303 million in 2013, and a further decline in 2014 to 281 million. In total Gartner predicts shipments of 2.5 billion by 2014.
Gartner research analyst Ranjit Atwel told V3 that the demand for tablets was being driven by cheap, low-cost models that could act as companion devices alongside laptops and all-in-one models.
“The convenience and accessibility with these smaller devices has made them very popular. If you look around you see everyone using them as you can take it with you without having to think too much about it,” he said.
Both these devices will run the Android operating system and Google's platform will continue to grow in the future. Gartner estimates that Android is set to be shipped on 879 million devices by 2013 and 1.1 billion devices in 2014.
By contrast, Windows devices will only grow mildly, from 331 million in 2013 to 363 million 2014. Apple iOS and Mac OS devices will hit 271 million in 2013 and 338 million in 2014.
Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said that Microsoft continues to face a tough market with its Windows Phone ecosystem, despite the purchase of Nokia.
"Windows Phone challenges in the smartphone market remain the same, with the need to bring on board more developers and enrich the ecosystem, as well as turning the Windows Phone brand into a cool smartphone brand,” she said.
“While there are clear benefits to the acquisition, such as channel strength, carrier relationship and emerging-market knowledge, the brand and ecosystem do not directly benefit from it.”
Atwel added that while Windows XP support is coming to an end the firm does not think this will have a huge impact on Windows sales.
"There are some SMEs out there still using XP but not huge numbers and these firms are not necessarily going to upgrade in the immediate future either," he added.
One other interesting area of the report focused on new wearable technology that is hitting the market such as Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch. However, Milanesi said it was unclear that there was much demand for such devices in the near to immediate future
"For wearables to be successful, they need to add to the user experience by complementing and enhancing what other devices already offer. They also need to be stylish yet practical, and most of all hit the right price," she said.
"In the short term, we expect consumers to look at wearables as nice to have rather than a "must have," leaving smartphones to play the role of our faithful companion throughout the day."
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