Windows XP business upgrades offers PC market crucial lifeline

Worldwide combined shipments of devices, including PCs, tablets, ultra mobiles and mobile phones, are projected to reach 2.4 billion units in 2014, representing a 4.2 percent increase from 2013.

After declining 9.5 percent in 2013, the global PC market however, such as desk-based, notebook and premium ultra mobile, is on pace to contract only 2.9 percent in 2014.

“2014 will be marked by a relative revival of the global PC market,” says Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

“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 traditional PC market, such as desk-based and notebook, will follow the same downward trend and is on pace to contract 6.7 percent in 2014 and 5.3 percent in 2015.

As with any devices, adoption goes through phases from the early to the late adopter; tablets are currently moving onto the latter part of that curve in mature markets.

Gartner estimates that sales of tablets will see a relative slowdown in 2014 to reach 256 million units, an increase of 23.9 percent from 2013.

Lower demand from users for tablets with smaller screens, some in favour of larger screens, in mature markets, and the shift towards phablets in South-East Asia are slowing global tablet penetration.

“The next wave of adoption will be driven by lower price points rather than superior functionality,” Atwal adds.

Sales of mobile phones are expected to reach 1.9 billion units in 2014, a 3.1 percent increase from 2013.

Sales of smartphones, which exceeded those of the rest of the market in 2013, will continue to do well, and Gartner estimates that smartphone sales will represent 88 percent of global mobile phone sales by 2018 — up from 66 percent in 2014.

Operation Systems…

In the operating system (OS) market, Android and iOS are driving the growth with a 30 percent and 15 percent increase, respectively, in 2014.

“We expect the announcement of the new Apple iPhone 6 will attract pent-up demand for users who want a larger screen,” adds Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner.

“Windows phones will exhibit strong growth from a low base in 2014, and are projected to reach a 10 percent market share by 2018 — up from 4 percent in 2014.”

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