For over one year now, the PC market has taken a beating. Monthly and quarterly reports all show a story of the declining PC market. That doesn't mean, however, that the entire IT industry is in trouble. The entire industry is now shifting from standalone PCs to mobile and low-cost devices.
This shift was highlighted today by market research firm Gartner, which predicts that combined PC, tablet, and mobile phone shipments will increase 4.5% year-over-year by the end of 2013. Tablets are expected to lead industry growth in 2013, with a huge 53.4% year-over-year growth expected from the segment, up to over 184 million units shipped worldwide. Mobile phone sales are also growing, with 1.8 billion units expected to ship by the end of 2013 - a 3.7% increase over 2012 shipments.
The growth in the industry comes despite a forecasted 11.2% decline in sales of desktop PCs and notebooks. Even when factoring in the growth seen in the ultramobile PC space, the entire PC industry is expected to decline by 8.4% this year.
"While consumers will be bombarded with ads for the new ultramobile devices, we expect their attention to be grabbed but not necessarily their money," said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. "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."
Gartner predicts that smaller, low-cost tablets will continue to drive the IT industry in the coming years. The new report references a consumer study that the firm conducted in several countries including the U.S., U.K., China, Brazil, Japan, and larger European countries. The study found that that average tablet screen sizes were only 8.3 to 9.5 inches, and that nearly half of consumers own a tablet sized 8 inches or less.