By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Stamford, Conn. – Gartner became the latest research firm to forecast a double-digit drop in shipments and massive tablet growth for 2013.
Desktop and notebook computer shipments are set to decline 10.6 percent to 305.2 million units worldwide this year and continue falling another 5.3 percent to 289.2 million in 2014.
Meanwhile tablet shipments will grow 67.9 percent to 201.8 million in 2013 and 36.8 percent to 276.2 million next year.
Gartner has mobile phones growing at a more modest, but steady rate. Shipments will rise to 1.8 billion this year, up 4.2 percent, and hit 1.9 billion in 2014, a 4.3 percent increase.
Gartner also noted both a bright spot for the computer market and a few clouds hovering over the tablet category.
Ultra-portable laptops, which includes Chromebooks, Ultrabooks, thin and light clamshell models and hybrid tablet/laptops running Windows 8, are experiencing healthy growth with Gartner anticipating 20.3 million to ship this year and 39.8 million in 2014. Gartner’s analysts believe sales will pick up later this year as models based on Intel’s Bay Trail and Haswell processors become available and when Microsoft rolls out the first major upgrade to Windows 8.
Category maturity is the primary issue facing the tablet market, Gartner said. The products are developing longer life cycles and consumers are shifting away from premium tablets to those with a lower price point. And in a major reversal, ultra-portables are also having a negative impact on tablets.
“We will also see consumer preferences split between basic tablets and ultramobile devices,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.
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