The year of the tablet: Gartner predicts global shipments will finally overtake PCs in 2015

The year of the tablet: Gartner predicts global shipments will finally overtake PCs in 2015

Research firm Gartner is predicting that 2015 will be the year in which the number of tablet devices finally overtakes the number of PCs shipped worldwide.

The company’s latest report foresees that the number of traditional PCs (that includes both desktops and notebooks) and ultramobile devices will reach 317 million in 2015, up slightly from its estimate of 308 million for this year. In contrast, Gartner estimates that the number of tablet devices will increase from 256 million in 2014 to 321 million in 2015.

Despite the significant change at the top, Gartner believes that the ending of support for Windows XP and general replacement cycles will mean that 2014 is “a relative revival” period for the PC market. That’s to say that it predicts shipments will decline by 2.9 percent year-on-year in 2014, as opposed to the 9.5 percent drop between 2012 and 2013.

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Smartphone shipments are predicted to reach 1.86 billion units this year, up from 1.8 billion in 2013. Gartner predicts that the figure will climb by 5 percent in 2015 to reach 1.95 billion units shipped per year, though it cautions that price will be an increasingly significant factor for sales.

“The next wave of adoption will be driven by lower price points rather than superior functionality,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

Looking at the tablet market itself, Strategy Analytics’ recent Q1 2014 report put Android out ahead with a leading 65.8 percent share of global shipments. iOS followed with 28.4 percent, with Windows next on 5.8 percent.

Android-based tablets have steadily gained market share in recent years and, though the Gartner report makes no mention of the vendors, we can expect that trend to continue as more Android devices go on sale and adoption in price sensitive emerging markets continues to grow.

Image via Andreas Solaro / AFP / Getty Images

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