SAN JOSE, Calif. — Sales of traditional PCs and notebooks will decline 11.2 percent this year, while tablet sales will surge 53.4 percent, according to figures released Monday by Gartner.
The analyst firm released its forecast one day before Apple is expected to release the fifth generation of its iPad tablet, which ignited the shift.
Gartner predicts that sales of ultramobiles -- a category of thin and light notebooks Intel pioneered -- will double this year and next, but the sector's fairly small size will not overcome declining growth in traditionally x86-based systems.
"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 press release. "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."
Gartner said small tablets hold the best prospects for both revenue growth and profits in mobile systems. "The opportunity for high average selling price (ASP) smartphones is now ending. Growth is expected to come from mid-tier smartphones in mature markets and low-end Android smartphones in emerging markets."
In terms of mobile operating systems, Android will continue to dominate the market; Gartner expects it to take a 38 percent share this year. Apple's iOS continues to grow, but not at the pace of Android, the firm said, and Microsoft Windows sales will dip 4.3 percent this year.
Milanesi said the much-discussed market for wearable devices will not account for significant sales in the near term. "In the short term, we expect consumers to look at wearables as nice to have rather than a 'must have.'"
Gartner's full report, available for sale online, came out one day before Apple is expected to launch a thinner, lighter iPad 5 and an enhanced iPad Mini, along with a refresh of its notebooks.