PC market decline slowing, says Gartner

July 8, 2014 // 11:12 a.m.

Tags: #desktop #financial #gartner #laptop #pc-market #slump #surface-pro-3 #tablet #traditional-pc #ultramobile

Market-watcher Gartner has released its latest report into the state of the global PC market, and it's looking like there's light at the end of the tunnel with signs that the market is stabilising at last.

The years-long slump in sales of traditional desktop and laptop PCs has been well publicised. In April 2013 IDC reported the biggest sales drop on record, despite the launch of Windows 8 and the hopes that it would encourage users to purchase new machines. The blame was largely placed on tablet computers, which can do the majority of consumptive tasks asked of them by casual and home users for a fraction of the cost of a traditional PC. The sales slowdown hit almost everyone hard, with Intel announcing job cuts and Sony abandoning the PC market altogether.

Recently, however, Intel claimed that it was seeing signs of growth in the PC market, following a Gartner report at the start of the year suggesting the market may be bottoming out. Now, Gartner's most recent report shows evidence that the bottom is in sight.

'2014 will be marked by a relative revival of the global PC market,' claimed Gartner's Ranjit Atwal in the company's most recent report. 'Business upgrades from Windows XP and the general business replacement cycle will lessen the downward trend, especially in Western Europe. This year, we anticipate nearly 60 million professional PC replacements in mature markets.'

The key here is 'relative revival.' According to Gartner's projections, the traditional PC market will contract 6.7 per cent by the end of the year, and 5.3 per cent in 2015 - an improvement on the recent double-digit slides. The figures can be further improved by including what the company calls 'premium ultramobiles' - devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, which is technically a tablet but with the heart of a traditional laptop - which improves the contraction to a mere 2.9 per cent by the end of 2014.

Smartphone and traditional tablet devices will continue to dominate for the foreseeable future, Gartner adds. Its report suggests that shipments of Android-powered devices will reach almost 1.2 billion by the end of the year, while devices featuring a Windows variant will ship around 333.4 million.

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