PC Shipments Will Drop More In 2013 While Cheaper Tablets Skyrocket

Research firm Gartner is out with some new numbers, and as you might have expected, there’s a clear trend that PC sales continue to decline. Sales of traditional (desktop and notebook) PCs will hit 303 million units in 2013, which is an 8.4% drop from 2012. The firm predicts that sales will continue to plummet and will be about 281 million next year.

Meanwhile, tablet shipments continue a blistering pace; the market is forecast to explode by 53.4% this year, from 120 million units in 2012 to 184 million. That trend is expected to continue in 2014 and reach 263 million shipments, which puts tablet sales within shouting distance of PC sales.

Gartner PC and tablet shipments 2013
via Gartner

Of note is that the tablets driving sales the most aren’t necessarily larger devices; rather, Gartner says that consumers favor smaller form factors, and in fact the average screen size of tablets being used worldwide is between 8.3 and 9.5 inches, and 47% of consumers have a tablet with a screen size of 8 inches or less.

8-inch Acer Iconia W4 tablet
8-inch Acer Iconia W4 tablet

In general, consumers currently seem to prefer lower-priced devices in all product categories. Growth in worldwide smartphone sales is coming from mid-tier devices in mature markets and lower-tier devices in emerging ones.

We’re on the record about this already, but it bears reiterating that the PC is not dying. As new form factors and device types emerge, it only makes sense that they’ll cannibalize sales of PCs, but a smartphone is not a tablet is not a laptop is not a desktop. People are acquiring the devices they need, and we’re just seeing people with a greater variety of needs.