The dawn of the new year has done little to reignite the fortunes of the PC market as Gartner forecasts another bumpy year ahead for shipments.
In the coming 12 months, the analyst reckons 278 million PCs will ship globally, a seven per cent slump on last year's figures.
But the PC market as a whole – which Gartner defines as including other devices such as ultramobiles (tablets, hybrids and clamshells) – will be flat, a significant improvement on the 9.9 per cent slump last year.
Despite the apparent boost in the PC market's fortunes, it will be driven by booming tablet shipments, whose popularity shows no signs of abating this year. In 2014, Gartner expects tablet shipments to grow by nearly half – 47 per cent – after plummeting prices continue to lure new users.
Yesterday, Gartner reinforced its promising outlook for the devices market as a whole and predicted a 4.3 per cent boost in spending to $697bn (£425bn).
In today's forecast it pointed to mobile phones – whose shipments will jump five per cent annually this year to 1.9 billion units – as this year's star seller.
"Mobile phones are a must-have and will continue to grow but at a slower pace, with opportunities moving away from the top-end premium devices to mid-end basic products," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.
"Meanwhile, users continue to move away from the traditional PC (notebooks and desk-based) as it becomes more of a shared-content creation tool, while the greater flexibility of tablets, hybrids and lighter notebooks address users' increasingly different demands.
"Complementary smaller tablets will take over from the larger tablet form factors, providing the added mobility that consumers desire at a lower cost and will compete with hybrids for consumer attention."
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