Market being driven by shift to lower-priced devices in nearly all device categories
This holiday season will be about smaller tablets as smartphone loses its appeal
WORLDWIDE combined shipments of devices (PCs, tablets and mobile phones) are projected to reach 2.32 billion units in 2013, a 4.5% increase from 2012, according to Gartner Inc.
The market is being driven by a shift to lower-priced devices in nearly all device categories, the market research and analyst firm said in a statement.
Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs (desk-based and notebook) are forecast to total 303 million units in 2013, an 11.2% decline from 2012, and the PC market, including ultramobiles, is forecast to decline 8.4% in 2013 (see Table 1). Mobile phone shipments are projected to grow 3.7%, with a volume of more than 1.8 billion units.
Tablet shipments are expected to grow 53.4% this year, with shipments reaching 184 million units, Gartner said.
Premium tablets are faced with continued price decline in the 7-inch form factor as a larger number of consumers prefer smaller form factors when it comes to content consumption. A recent consumer study that Gartner conducted in Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan confirmed Gartner's long-standing assumption that smaller is better when it comes to consumer tablets.
The survey showed that the average screen sizes of the tablets in use across the countries ranged from 8.3 inches to 9.5 inches. Forty-seven percent of the 21,500 consumers surveyed owned a tablet that was 8 inches or less.
As the third-quarter earnings season comes to an end, it is clear that our caution for 2013 was well placed as vendors are transitioning their portfolios to the new Intel processors Bay Trail and Haswell, as well as rolling out products that are based on the Windows 8.1 release.
“While consumers will be bombarded with ads for the new ultramobile devices, we expect their attention to be grabbed but not necessarily their money," said Carolina Milanesi (pic), research vice president at Gartner.
“Continuing on the trend we saw last year, we expect this holiday season to be all about smaller tablets as even the long-term holiday favourite – the smartphone – loses its appeal,” she added.
“Although the preference is for dedicated devices, we see the opportunity for hybrid ultramobile to marry the functionality of a PC and the form factor of the tablet,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.
“Users that have to balance work and play will find that the advantage of buying and carrying one device outweighs the compromise in the full experience that single devices can deliver.
“Users who are not limited by their disposable income will likely have a basic tablet as a companion device to the their ultramobile on which most of their consumption activities will take place,” Ranjit added.
The mobile phone market will continue to experience steady growth, but the opportunity for high average selling price (ASP) smartphones is now ending. Growth is expected to come from mid-tier smartphones in mature markets and low-end Android smartphones in emerging markets.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia doesn’t have a major impact on the forecast, because Gartner already assumed that Nokia would have accounted for the vast majority of Windows Phone share throughout the forecast, with only minimal volume coming from other OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), such as HTC or Samsung.
“Windows Phone challenges in the smartphone market remain the same, with the need to bring on board more developers and enrich the ecosystem, as well as turning the Windows Phone brand into a cool smartphone brand,” said Milanesi.
“While there are clear benefits to the acquisition, such as channel strength, carrier relationship and emerging-market knowledge, the brand and ecosystem do not directly benefit from it,” she added.
The end of Windows XP support in 2014 isn’t expected to impact device sales, as Gartner says 90% of large enterprises have either migrated or are migrating to Windows 7 or Windows 8.
Android will remain the leading device operating system (OS), as it is on pace to account for 38% of shipments in 2013 (see Table 2). The Windows OS is projected to decline 4.3% in 2013 as a result of the decline in traditional PC sales, but will return to growth in 2014 with device OS shipments increasing 9.7%.
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