Here's Why PC Purists Shouldn't Panic Over Gartner's Latest Shipment Forecast

Paul Lilly

Gartner predicts a 6.6 percent decline in traditional PC shipments next year

There's no denying there's been a shift in the mainstream PC market. People who are primarily interested in surfing the web and sending emails no longer need a desktop to get the job done -- tablets and even smartphones are sufficient tools for basic connectivity. Knowing that, it's hardly surprising for Gartner to forecast a 6.6 percent decline in traditional PC shipments in 2014 , but before diehard desktop and laptop fans throw their hands up in defeat, let's look at the bigger picture.

By Gartner's count , there were 296.1 million desktop and laptop shipments in 2013, versus 195.4 million tablets. Given how many times we've heard market research firms talk about declining PC sales, would you have guessed that they outsold the trendy tablet category by more than a 100 million units?

Looking ahead to next year, Gartner predicts traditional PC shipments will fall to 276.7 million, while tablets rise to 270.7 million. So even though traditional PC shipments are declining while tablets continue to grow at an amazing rate, it will be another year in which the PC 'wins,' so to speak. That goes out the window if you include smartphone shipments, but they're not having the same cannibalizing effect as tablets.

Assuming Gartner's forecasts play out, the tide will finally turn in 2015, with tablet shipments ballooning to 349.1 million, while traditional PC shipments inch down to 263 million units. However, if we zoom out a bit, these numbers add up to 835.8 million desktop and PC shipments and 815.2 million tablet shipments from 2013 to 2015.

Sure, that's a positive slant on the traditional PC side, but the point is, the traditional PC market isn't dead, nor does it appear to be dying. Instead, it's adjusting to the market shift. It's also adapting, hence all the hybrid devices that can function as both a traditional laptop or all-in-one PC and a tablet.

Image Credit: Flickr ( believekevin )

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