Gartner: Tablet Sales Will Top Traditional PCs By 2017

Paul Lilly

Decline in PC sales isn't a temporary trend, Gartner says.

Four years from now, most of us will have traded in our desktop and notebook PCs for a tablet, or maybe we'll all just use smartphones for computing chores. Don't believe it? Neither do we, though that's the picture the forecasting artists at Gartner painted today by predicting a steady decline in traditional PC sales over the next several years, only to be leapfrogged by tablet shipments in 2017.

Gartner says the proliferation of lower-priced tablets that are increasingly capable of handling day-to-day chores is accelerating the shift from PCs to slates. What's more, Gartner doesn't think the market will support both types of computing devices, at least not for the majority.

"While there will be some individuals who retain both a personal PC and a tablet, especially those who use either or both for work and play, most will be satisfied with the experience they get from a tablet as their main computing device," said Carolina Milanesi , research vice president at Gartner. "As consumers shift their time away from their PC to tablets and smartphones, they will no longer see their PC as a device that they need to replace on a regular basis."

By 2017, Gartner predicts desktop and notebooks sales will have declined from 341.2 million (currently) to 271.6 million, while tablet shipments are expected to rise from 116.1 million to 467.9 million. According to Gartner, the current infatuation with tablets is not a temporary trend, but "a reflection of a long-term change in user behavior."

What do you think? Will the mainstream market continue to move towards tablets at the expense of PCs, or will both co-exist several years from now?

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