The number of tablets sold globally will surpass the number of PCs sold by 2017, according to analyst firm Gartner. Sales of Android smartphones are also expected to triple between 2012 and 2017, the firm forecast.
More than 2.9 billion mobile or desk-based devices will be shipped in 2017, up from 2.4 billion today, according to Gartner. However, the mix of these devices will significantly change over the forecast period, the firm warned, as tablet devices become cheaper and more powerful. In fact, PC and laptop shipments are set to fall around 20 per cent, from 341 million shipped in 2012 to 271 million in 2017.
“While there will be some individuals who retain both a personal PC and a tablet, especially those who use either or both for work and play, most will be satisfied with the experience they get from a tablet as their main computing device,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.
“As consumers shift their time away from their PC to tablets and smartphones, they will no longer see their PC as a device that they need to replace on a regular basis.”
Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, added that growth in the tablet segment will not be limited to mature markets alone.
“Users in emerging markets who are looking for a companion to their mobile phone will increasingly choose a tablet as their first computing device and not a PC.”
Tablets are not the only device type that is seeing aggressive price erosion; smartphones are also becoming more affordable,
Of the 1.875 billion mobile phones to be sold in 2013, Gartner predicts that one billion units will be smartphones, compared with 675 million units in 2012.
As a result of the changing buyer behaviour, Google and Apple will profit at the expense of smaller players. Google, which shipped 497 million Android devices in 2012, is expected to almost triple that figure over the following five years, to sell 1,47 billion devices in 2017. Apple will also thrive; the firm sold 213 million iOS and Mac OS devices in 2012, and is expected to more than double that to 504 million in 2017. Even Microsoft is set to prosper over the coming four years; the firm will see shipments rise from 346 million in 2012 to 570 million in 2017, according to Gartner’s forecasts.