Lower cost tablets seem to be eating away at traditional PC sales. According to market research firm Gartner, combined desktop and notebook PC shipments are on pace to reach 303 million units in 2013, representing an 11.2 percent decline from 2012. If you throw ultramobiles into the mix, the outlook is a little better, though still in a downward swing to the tune of an 8.4 percent decline in shipments.
In stark contrast, tablet shipments are expected to balloon 53.4 percent this year to 184 million units. Continued price drops in the 7-inch category are what's fueling the growing demand. As it stands, 47 percent of the 21,500 people Gartner surveyed said they own a tablet that measures 8 inches or less.
This sounds like more gloom and doom for the traditional PC market, but if you focus on the shipment numbers instead of the rate at which each category is growing or declining, things aren't as bad. Let's compare:
2013 desktop, notebook, and ultramobile shipments: 321.6 million units
2013 tablet PC shipments: 184.4 million units
2014 desktop, notebook, and ultramobile shipments: 321.4 million units
2014 tablet PC shipments: 263.2 million units
Assuming nothing disrupts the current trend, the fast growing and wildly popular tablet segment will eventually catch up with combined traditional and ultramobile PC shipments, though not for at least a couple more years.