Tablet sales will account for half of the entire PC market in 2014 as demand for devices from firms such as Samsung and Apple continues to grow, according to new data from Canalys.
The firm said that with sales of tablets at 40 percent in Q3 2013, it now predicts 50 percent of PC-style devices sold will be tablets by the end of 2014 – reaching 285 million. Desktop units will be 17 percent of the market, with sales of 98 million. Notebooks will account for the remaining 33 percent, at 192 million sales, Canalys said.
Apple and Samsung will remain the dominant vendors over the next few years, with Canalys senior analyst Tim Coulling saying the tablet market is an area Apple especially will continue to push as it brings the firm such good margins.
“Apple’s prioritisation of protecting gross margins will see its PC market share continue to decline,” he said. “However, Apple is one of the few companies making money from the tablet boom. Premium products attract high-value consumers; for Apple, remaining highly profitable and driving revenue from its entire ecosystem is of greater importance than market share statistics.”
Meanwhile Microsoft is set to improve its position, although only relatively to its already lowly status in the market. Canalys predicts it will grow from two percent to five percent in 2014, driven in part by its deal for Nokia, according to research analyst Pin-Chen Tang.
“2014 will see another major shift for the company as the Nokia acquisition brings it a step closer to being a fully fledged smart mobile device vendor,” he said.
“As a vendor Microsoft needs to prove to channel partners and consumers that it is in this market for the long haul. Balancing the competition with its vendor partners and embracing a 'challenger' rather than an 'incumbent' mentality is essential.
He added that Microsoft must address the issues caused by having several variations of its operating systems in the market. “A critical first step is to address the coexistence of Windows Phone and Windows RT,” he said. “Having three different operating systems to address the smart device landscape is confusing to both developers and consumers alike.”
To underline the growing demand for tablets, Canalys predicts that by 2017, 396 million units will be sold, as the form factor continues to prove highly enticing for both consumers and business users.
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