The latest forecast from analysts at Gartner predicts that whilst overall global device shipments will grow by 5.9% in 2013, PCs will continue to decline by 10.6%.
The research house say that combined devices, PCs, tablets and mobiles, will reach a total of 2.35bn units this year, with sales being driven by tablets, smartphones and to a lesser extent, ultramobiles. PCs, including laptops, are forecast to reach a total of around 305m units, representing a total decline of 10.6% from 2012.
Tablets are expected to see a healthy growth of 67.9%, whilst the mobile phone market is projected to grow by just 4.3%.
"Consumers want anytime-anywhere computing that allows them to consume and create content with ease, but also share and access that content from a different portfolio of products. Mobility is paramount in both mature and emerging markets,” said Carolina Milanesi , research vice president at Gartner.
The demand for ultramobiles, including Chromebooks, clamshell designs and hybrid devices, is expected to grow as consumers upgrade from devices such as the iPad and Galaxy Tab 10.1. Whilst these devices are expected to marginally help PC sales, especially when those running Windows 8.1 hit the market, they are expected to help vendors increase selling prices.
The sale of basic tablets is expected to increase faster than first thought, especially as consumers shift from buying premium tablet devices. Gartner say that in the first quarter of the year, sales of the iPad Mini represented 60% of overall iOS tablet sales.
"The increased availability of lower priced basic tablets, plus the value add shifting to software rather than hardware will result in the lifetimes of premium tablets extending as they remain active in the household for longer. We will also see consumer preferences split between basic tablets and ultramobile devices,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.
"With mobile phones, volume expectations for 2013 have been brought down as the life cycles lengthen as consumers wait for new models and lower prices to hit the market in the Fall and holiday season. The challenge in the smartphone market is also that, as penetration moves more and more to the mass market, price points are lowering and in most cases so do margins.”
The analysts also found that growing acceptance of enterprise BYOD schemes means that there will be an increase in consumer-owned devices overall, growing from 65% in 2013, to 72% in 2017.
"This signifies the growing importance of designing for the consumer inside the enterprise,” Gartner said in a press release.
For a more detailed analysis, see Devices by Operating System and User Type, Worldwide, 2010-2017, 2Q13 Update on Gartner’s website.