Global tablet shipments are projected to increase 68 percent this year, to 202 million devices. This impressive growth correlates to the continued decline of personal computers, which are expected to see worldwide sales slip by 10.6 percent.
These changes are not necessarily surprising given that tablets are gradually replacing PCs as the primary choice for an in-home device, but the rate of growth offers a resounding confirmation that tablets are here to stay.
It’s clear that the future of the tech industry is pinned to the ongoing performance of smartphone and tablet devices. Mobility is increasingly valued among consumers and device sales trends reflect these shifting demands.
“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,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. “Mobility is paramount in both mature and emerging markets.”
Continued growth in tablet shipments is expected to continue through 2014, while PCs are expected to experience yet another year of reduced sales.
Grappling with Device-Based Limitations
Smartphone and tablet shipments may be trending upward, but the Gartner report points out that both sectors of the mobile market face challenges in the quest to broaden adoption among global consumers, particularly with these devices achieving longer lifecycles.
The release also noted a growing preference for basic tablets over premium options. This, combined with increased penetration in major markets, is lowering the price point for tablet and smartphone adoption and, consequently, the profit margins for manufacturers and vendors.
Basic tablets may also lose some of their business to the burgeoning market for ultramobiles — thin, lightweight, minimalist devices that can rival tablets. This new alternative isn’t an imminent threat to tablet adoption, but it could slow the platform’s momentum.
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