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Consumers to continue love affair with tablets; PC adoption waning, says Gartner

Around the world, consumers increasingly are turning to tablets, smartphones and ultramobiles to satisfy their desire to create and consume content, and turning away from desktop and notebook PCs, according to a new forecast from Gartner.

According to the forecast , PCs will experience a 10.6 percent decline in shipments of 305 million units this year compared to 2012 shipments. Conversely, tablet shipments are expected to increase nearly 68 percent, reaching 202 million units in 2013. The mobile phone market will surpass 1.8 billion units, a 4.3 percent increase for the year.

The steep decline in PC shipments not only reflects changing consumer preferences but also adjustments to make room for new product reaching the market in the latter half of the year, according to Gartner.

“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. Mobility is paramount in both mature and emerging markets,” said Carolina Milanesi, research VP at Gartner.

However, challenges are emerging for tablets and smartphones as product life cycles grow. According to Gartner, there has been a shift in the market as consumers move from premium tablets to basic tablets. With consumers increasing their adoption of lower-priced basic tablets and the value-add transitioning to software, the lifetimes of premium tablets will be extended, according to Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal. “We will also see consumer preferences split between basic tablets and ultramobile devices,” said Atwal.

Overall, the Gartner forecast shows that when all devices, including PCs, tablets and mobile phones, are combined, some 2.35 billion units will be shipped in 2013, a 5.9 percent increase from 2012.