New forecast: PC market down 7% in 2014, tablets up 39%

dellJust in time for new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s expected introduction of an Office suite for iPad today, new numbers from Gartner show how business and consumer buying trends are continuing to upend Microsoft’s traditional PC business.

Worldwide shipments of traditional desktop and notebook PCs will decline by 6.6 percent, to 276.7 million units, the research firm said in its updated forecast this morning. Meanwhile, tablet shipments will rise by 38.6 percent, according to Gartner’s projections, topping 270 million in 2014 — getting very close to the total volume of the traditional PC market.

“Tablet substitution of notebooks will start to dissipate from this year onwards as consumers and businesses align the right device with the right usage pattern. As they do this, we will see where dedicated devices (such as tablets), or hybrid devices (detachable or convertible devices), fit in the overall portfolio of devices,” said Ranjit Atwal, Gartner research director, in a news release.

Here’s a Gartner chart showing how it expects the trends to extend into 2015.

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And here is how Gartner sees the patterns shaping up among Android, Windows, and iOS/Mac.

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Stay tuned for coverage of Microsoft’s event in San Francisco starting at 10 a.m. on GeekWire.

  • Bishop

    I don’t understand what the freak out is all the time in regards to diminishing PC sales vs tablet sales. Tablets haven’t been around for the past 20 years so millions of people purchased PCs to do the tasks that can now be accomplished with a tablet.

    Millions of grandparents purchased $1,500 machines to check email and look at pictures of grand kids but it was the only option available at the time. It is perfectly normal and expected that people can now accomplish what they did with a PC with a tablet.

    I don’t see it as a PC vs tablet and that Microsoft sucks because they are losing market share to the “superior” tablet. It’s a market correction. PCs enjoyed a dominate good run when they were the only option available and hopefully Microsoft will recognize this and make the adjustments necessary to stay relevant.

    I think they are showing pretty good promise. They have entered the tablet market with their Surface RT and are making their Office Suite available on iPads.

    • NewGuard

      Well, the consumers aren’t freaking out, it’s the companies that previously dominated the PC market that are freaking out. Tablets hardware is dominated by ARM, not Intel, tablet OS is dominated by Android/iOS, not Windows, and Office may or may not be needed to the same extent as before. If I were MS, Intel, Dell, or HP, I would be very afraid, consumers don’t seem to need them anymore.