All right, folks. Put away your Xanax, the PC market isn’t dead yet. In fact, it may see a little tiny revival next year, according to the latest PC market report from Gartner. That’s good news for PC makers like HP and Dell, both of whom have been reeling from revenue losses in the wake of declining PC sales.
After falling 9.5% in 2013, Gartner researchers anticipate that the decline will slow and the global PC market will only contract 2.9%. But it will see a little, teeny tiny boost in 2015 of 2.9%.
PCs—which Gartner defines as desktop computers, notebooks, and “ultramobiles” (laptop/tablet hybrids)—took a devastating hit in 2013, falling nearly 10% to 317.6 million units shipped. This year, PC sales are expected to fall another 2.9% to 308 million units shipped. But in 2015, that number is expected to pop back up to nearly 317 million.
"Business upgrades from Windows XP and the general business replacement cycle will lessen the downward trend, especially in Western Europe," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, in a statement. "This year, we anticipate nearly 60 million professional PC replacements in mature markets."
But that won’t be enough to stave off the rising tablet tide. We’ve all known that tablets would eclipse the PC market at some point in the future, and Gartner researchers believe that will be 2015. Researchers estimate that some 321 million tablets will be shipped in 2015, up 23.9% from 207 million in 2013. This year, tablets are on track to ship 256 million units.
"The next wave of adoption will be driven by lower price points rather than superior functionality," said Atwal.
Mobile phone sales are expected to hit 1.9 billion units in 2014, up 3.1% from 2013. Of that, 66% will be smartphones, but researchers estimate that by 2018, a full 88% of mobile phone sales worldwide will be smartphones.
The OS market will continue to be dominated by Android, which will account for 1.7 billion devices shipped in 2014—an increase of 30% from 2013. Apple’s iOS/Mac OS, by comparison, will account for 271 million devices in 2014. But the real surprise will come from Windows phones.
"Windows phones will exhibit strong growth from a low base in 2014, and are projected to reach a 10 percent market share by 2018 — up from 4 percent in 2014,” said Gartner research director Annette Zimmermann, in a statement.