Tablet shipments to jump 68%, PCs to slip 10%, says Gartner

Overall in 2013, shipments of tablets, smartphones, and PCs will increase 6 percent, despite the drag from traditional desktops and laptops, according to Gartner.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
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iPad Mini, Kindle Fire HD, Nook HD+
This is shaping up to be a good year for tablets (well, maybe not the Nook so much). Pictured here are the Nook HD+, the iPad Mini, and the Kindle Fire HD. Eric Franklin/CNET

Global shipments of PCs, tablets, and mobile phones will rise by 5.9 percent this year, reaching 2.35 billion, research firm Gartner predicted on Monday.

Though PC shipments continue to nosedive, the technology industry is getting a shot in the arm from tablets and smartphones.

Worldwide PC shipments, which include desktops and notebooks, are expected to drop by 10.6 percent this year to 305 million, Gartner said. Tablet shipments are pegged to jump by 67.9 percent, hitting 202 million. And shipments of mobile phones are forecast to grow by 4.3 percent to more than 1.8 billion across the globe.

The drop in PC sales last quarter was due to increasing consumer demand for mobility. But sales were also hampered as the industry strove to make room for new products due to hit the market over the second half of the year, according to Gartner.

"Consumers want anytime-anywhere computing that allows them to consume and create content with ease, but also share and access that content from a different portfolio of products. Mobility is paramount in both mature and emerging markets," Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement.


Another product category may get a boost this year: ultramobiles. Defined by Gartner as Chromebooks, thin and light clamshell designs, and slate and hybrid devices running Windows 8, ultramobiles are appealing to more consumers and even stealing demand from other devices.

New ultramobiles due to launch in the fourth quarter will be powered by Intel's Bay Trail and Haswell chips and run Windows 8.1. Though these devices will provide only a small bump to overall sales, they should be able to help vendors increase both selling prices and margins, Gartner added.