Gartner is now forecasting that shipments of traditional PCs will decline by a double digit percentage as consumers increasingly opt for tablets.
Market research firm Gartner Inc. now expects shipments of traditional PCs to decline a whopping 11 percent in 2013. Tablet shipments are projected to increase by 68 percent, according to the firm.
Combined shipments of traditional desktop and notebook PCs are set to fall to 305 million units this year, according to Gartner, down from 341 million units last year. Overall shipments of PCs—including ultramobiles—are expected to decline by 7 percent this year to 325 million, according to Gartner.
Meanwhile, combined shipments of PCs, tablets and mobile phones are projected to grow by 6 percent to reach 2.35 billion units, Gartner said.
The revised Gartner forecast for PC shipments is another nail in the coffin of the traditional desktop and notebook PC. Increasingly, consumers are opting for tablets and smartphones and—to a lesser extent—ultramobile PCs will Intel's Ultrabook—at the expense of old school PCs.
"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," said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. "Mobility is paramount in both mature and emerging markets."
Gartner (Stamford, Conn.) attributed the sharp decline in first quarter PC sales not only to changes in in consumers’ wants and needs, but also an adjustment in the channel to make room for new products hitting the market in the second half of 2013.
Demand for ultramobiles (which includes Chromebooks, thin and light clamshell designs, and slate and hybrid devices running Windows 8) will come from upgrades of both notebooks and premium tablets, such as the Apple iPad or Galaxy Tab10.1, Gartner said. Analysts said ultramobile devices are gaining in attractiveness and drawing demand away from other devices. This will be even more evident in the fourth quarter of 2013, when the combination of new design based on Intel's Bay Trail and Haswell processors running on Windows 8.1 will hit the market, Gartner said.
Though the new types of ultramobiles will only marginally help overall PC sales volumes initially, Gartner said, they are expected to help vendors increase average selling prices (ASPs) and margins.