Tech Shipments Growing, Despite Languishing PC Market

IT Management

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With many parts of the worldwide economy still struggling to recover from the recent economic recession, the tech industry still appears resilient enough to weather just about any market fluctuations. Market research firm Gartner today released a new report showing that shipments of tech products are still continuing to rise.

The report predicts that shipments of PCs (including "ultramobile" PCs), tablets, and mobile phones are set to hit a combined 2.5 billion units during 2014. This represents a nearly 6.9% increase over shipments seen in 2013.

This rise in shipments will come despite the continued decline in traditional PC sales. Gartner estimates that only 276.7 million desktop and notebook PCs will ship during 2014, a 6.5% decrease over 2013 shipment numbers. This trend is predicted to continue into 2015, when the firm estimates that only 263 million desktops and notebooks will be shipped.

"The traditional PC category continues to decrease, with only about two-thirds of notebook and desktop replacements remaining within this category," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. "The majority of the remaining one-third will move to ultramobiles, while others will not be replaced at all."

Making up for the traditional PC slowdown is the tablet market, which is predicted to continue its impressive growth will into next year. Tablet shipments are predicted to rise to 270.7 million units during 2014 (a 38.5% rise over 2013 shipments) and are predicted to top traditional PC shipments in 2015 with 349.1 million units shipped.

Mobile phone shipments are also expected to continue rise in the coming years. Gartner estimates that nearly 1.9 billion mobile phones will ship during 2014, a 4.9% increase over 2013 shipments.

As the tablet and smartphone segments begin to saturate mature markets, marketing focus will shift toward emerging markets such as China. The coming glut of smartphones and tablets will also breed extensive competition between manufacturers, cutting margins to razor-thin levels and pushing out weaker competitors.

Meanwhile, traditional PC manufacturers are still desperately trying to find a way to make notebooks and desktops more relevant to the consumer market. Features such as Ultra HD displays and touch displays will soon become standard for notebooks, though it is still unclear whether such features will lure consumers back from more mobile tablets.

"Tablet substitution of notebooks will start to dissipate from this year onwards as consumers and businesses align the right device with the right usage pattern," said Atwal. "As they do this, we will see where dedicated devices (such as tablets), or hybrid devices (detachable or convertible devices), fit in the overall portfolio of devices."

Image via Samsung