In 2015 tablet sales will reach more than 320 million units and 316 million PC units are expected to be shifted globally, Gartner predicts.
While tablet sales are set to overtake PC sales, the tablet market is expected to experience a “relative slowdown” in growth this year to reach 256 million units, an increase of 23.9 per cent from 2013. The slowdown in penetration has been pinned partly on lower demand from users for tablets in smaller screens in mature markets and the shift towards phablets in South-East Asia.
Gartner’s forecast of a slowdown echoes CCS Insight’s predictions earlier this year, estimating that the UK tablet market is set to slump in 2014 as “buyer’s remorse” strikes consumers who initially bought low quality devices.
Gartner predicts the next wave of tablet adoption will be driven by lower price points, rather than “superior functionality”.
While the traditional PC market continues its decline, 2014 will mark a “relative revival” for the sector. After declining 9.3 per cent in 2013, the global PC market is on pace to shrink just 2.9 per cent in 2014, Gartner estimates. Sales are then expected to increase 2.7 per cent year on year in 2015.
Ranjit Atwal, Gartner research director, says: “Business upgrades from Windows XP and the general business replacement cycle will lessen the downward trend, especially in Western Europe. This year we anticipate nearly 60 million professional PC replacements in mature markets.”
Elsewhere, Gartner estimates smartphone sales will represent 88 per cent of global mobile phone sales by 2018, up from 66 per cent this year. Sales of mobile phones are expected to increase 3.1 per cent year on year to 1.9 billion units in 2014.
Android and iOS are driving smartphone sales spike, but Gartner predicts Windows Phones will also exhibit strong growth from a low base in 2014 and are projected to reach 10 per cent market share by 2018 – up from 4 per cent in 2014.
Microsoft, which owns Windows Phone, recently completed its acquisition of Nokia’s devices and services business , a move it hopes will strengthen its position in the competitive smartphone market.