Shipments of PCs, tablets, mobile phones and ultra-mobile devices will rise 7.6% this year, reaching 2.5 billion units, according to a Gartner market research report released January 7. Google Android device users will surpass 1 billion, with users in emerging markets accounting for three-quarters of the total, according to Gartner’s “Forecast: PCs, Ultramobiles, and Mobile Phones, Worldwide, 2010-2017, 4Q Update.”
At an expected 1.9 billion, shipments of mobile phones will dominate all categories of mobile device shipments, up 5% from 2013, Gartner predicts. Lumped together in the ultra-mobile category, tablets, hybrids and clamshells will surpass mobile phone shipments from 2014 onwards, growing at a 54% rate.
“The device market continues to evolve, with buyers deciding which combination of devices is required to meet their wants and needs. Mobile phones are a must have and will continue to grow but at a slower pace, with opportunities moving away from the top-end premium devices to mid-end basic products,” Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal commented in a press release.
“Meanwhile users continue to move away from the traditional PC (notebooks and desk-based) as it becomes more of a shared content creation tool, while the greater flexibility of tablets, hybrids and lighter notebooks address users’ increasingly different demands.”
The worldwide tablet market will grow 47% in 2014 as lower average selling prices attract new users, Gartner forecasts. Over two-thirds of tablets in Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, the U.K. and the U.S. were used outside the home, a previous Gartner study found. “Consumers continue to buy tablets as an additional device that they can carry elsewhere,” according to the press release.
“Complimentary smaller tablets will take over from the larger tablet form factors, providing the added mobility that consumers desire at a lower cost and will compete with hybrids for consumer attention,” Atwal added.
Gartner, in line with other forecasts, expects traditional PC shipments to decline in 2014, down 7% to 278 million units following a 9.9% drop in 2013. Adding in ultra-mobiles will result in slight growth of 0.2%, with an increase in Windows ultra-mobiles fueling growth. Gartner’s earlier consumer survey revealed that less than 8% of users would replace their laptop with a tablet, but almost twice that figure would replace a PC with an ultrabook.
Turning to mobile operating systems (OS), Gartner forecasts Android will continue to be the mobile OS of choice across all device types, reaching 1.1 billion users this year, up 26% from 2013.
“There is no doubt that there is a volume versus value equation, with Android users also purchasing lower-cost devices compared to Apple users. Android holds the largest number of installed-base devices, with 1.9 billion in use in 2014, compared with 682 million iOS/Mac OS installed-base devices,” Gartner principal analyst Annette Zimmerman commented.