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In 2013, the Tablet Takes All: iPad Minis, Small Androids, Likely Holiday Favorites

Back in April, the information technology research and advisory firm Gartner forecast that PC sales would decline 7.3% this year. In a new report released this morning, however, the firm adjusted that estimation to a decline of 11.2% in PCs shipped in 2013 versus 2012.

Meanwhile, the rapidly growing tablet market, led by operating systems iOS ( AAPL ) and Android ( GOOG ), is expected to grow by 42.7% compared to 2012. Granted, the total volume of PC units expected to ship is still 303 million units, and only 184 million tablets will go out. With those rates of change, the order will likely shift soon in favor of iPads and Nexus devices over desktops and laptops.

One of the things offsetting the PC's rapid decline is the success of ultramobile devices, or lightweight laptops and portable devices that run Dell ( DELL ) desktop operating systems; the leading example is Microsoft's ( MSFT ) Surface Pro. Even with this category added, sales of PCs and ultramobile devices together will fall 8.4% this year. Today's report from Gartner notes that tablets will likely outship both desktop PCs and ultramobiles by the year 2017.

As far as growth within the tablet market in concerned, Apple's premium iPad is having its market share leeched by smaller and cheaper tablets which continue to improve in quality, like Amazon's ( AMZN ) Kindle Fire or Google's Nexus line of tablets. The 7-inch offerings from both companies, as well as iPad mini, are increasing in popularity, according to Gartner.

As Carolina Milanesi, Research Vice President at Gartner, said in a statement, "Continuing on the trend we saw last year, we expect this holiday season to be all about smaller tablets as even the long-term holiday favorite - the smartphone - loses its appeal."

Mobile is still by far the biggest segment of the consumer tech market: This year, Gartner expects sales to come in at over 1.8 billion units. And, when you put all devices together -- including mobile, tablet, PC, and wearable (yes, this may be another sector that will soon start to grow rapidly) -- worldwide sales are expected to be over 2.3 billion in 2013. Moreover, a full 38% of those devices are Android-running machines, with Windows in second with 14% and Apple in third with 12%. In 2014, Gartner expects Android to grow the most, with a 2014 global market share of 45% compared to 15% for Windows and 14% for Apple. Meanwhile, BlackBerry (BBRY) will drop from 1% this year to 0.8% in 2014.

Follow me on Twitter: @JoshWolonick and @Minyanville

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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