Tablets will surpass PCs in worldwide device shipments by the end of 2015, according to a report released Monday by research firm Gartner.
Gartner predicts sales of desktops, laptops and ultramobile devices will fall 2.9 percent to 316.6 million units by the end of next year, while tablet shipments will be north of 320.9 million.
The rate of contraction for the PC market is expected to slow, to 2.9 percent this year, the report said. That compares with last year's fall of 9.5 percent.
"2014 will be marked by a relative revival of the global PC market," said Ranjit Atwal, Gartner research director. "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."
Tablet shipments are expected to jump 24 percent by the end of this calendar year to 256.3 million, according to Gartner. That compares with more than 206.8 million tablets shipped worldwide in 2013.
It won’t be until next year that the market will see tablets topple PCs when tablet sales jump 25 percent.
Meanwhile, Gartner projects 2.6 percent growth in the PC market next year.
Sales of traditional PCs, such as desktop computers and notebooks, will fall from 276.2 million this year to 261.6 million next year, Gartner said. Although, the decline will be partially offset by a rise in ultrabook sales from 32.2 million this year to more than 55 million in 2015.
"The next wave of adoption will be driven by lower price points rather than superior functionality," Atwal said.
Douglas Grosfield, president and CEO of Ontario-based solutions provider Xylotek Solutions, said the potential for tablets topping PCs is likely on the radar screen for the enterprise because he sees it as something that is consumer and BYOD driven.
“With docking stations, you can use your tablet as if it is your laptop, but I don’t see them as a replacement item. You’ll still want to get stuff done on your beefy laptop or desktop PC," Grosfield said. “Tablets and ultrabooks are wonderful for mobile workers in terms of their convenience and mobility for taking presentations with them for example, but the PC business itself is very cyclical in nature so you’ll see significant ups and downs in sales volumes. It’s more about the refresh cycle. [In our offices] we replace 25 percent of our hardware each year, so no work station is older than four years old.”
PUBLISHED JULY 7, 2014