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Small, cheap tablets are hot, PCs not, says Gartner

Worldwide shipments of desktops and notebooks are expected to drop 11 percent in 2013 as tablet sales surge -- with a big nod toward the popularity of tablets 8 inches and smaller.


The PC industry is likely to experience another rough year, according to analysts at Gartner.

Global shipments of desktops and notebooks are expected to nestle in at 303 million this year, an 11.2 percent drop from 2012. Stirring in ultramobile PCs (which include hybrid laptops/tablets), shipments are forecast to decline by 8.4 percent this year, Gartner said on Monday.

Tablets will continue to heat up the market, with shipments surging by 42.7 percent in 2013 to reach 184 million. And smaller and cheaper tablets are giving their larger and more expensive counterparts a run for their money. A recent Gartner survey conducted in several major countries found that 47 percent of those polled owned a tablet with a screen size of 8 inches or less.


Even the venerated smartphone is taking a bit of a hit. With high-priced phones losing some of their appeal, the industry is expected to see growth from mid-tier smartphones in developed markets and low-cost Android phones in emerging markets, according to Gartner.

"While consumers will be bombarded with ads for the new ultramobile devices, we expect their attention to be grabbed but not necessarily their money," Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement. "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 favorite -- the smartphone -- loses its appeal."