Analysts See Shift in PC, Tablet Markets
In June, Intel officials announced that stronger-than-expected demand for PCs improved the financial outlook for the second quarter and the entire year. Intel reports its second-quarter financial results July 15. Both IDC and Gartner analysts said the decline in PCs will continue to slow this year—Gartner said the global PC market will only contract 2.9 percent this year after a 9.5 percent decline in 2013, while IDC is forecasting growth for the year to be flat. In addition, Gartner analysts, in a July 7 report, said they expect PC shipments—which include traditional desktops, notebooks and premium ultramobile systems—to grow 2.9 percent in 2015. Gartner analysts said that while PC shipments will improve, those of tablets will outpace PC shipments in 2015. However, in the tablet space, IDC analysts are not the only ones seeing a slowdown. A July 9 report by NPD DisplaySearch said that not only were first-quarter shipments of notebooks better than expected, shipments of tablets—at 56 million—fell for the first time year-over-year, due in part to the delayed launches of some systems.The analysts also said there will be heightened competition between smartphones with displays 5.5 inches and larger and tablets with screens between 7 and 8 inches, with major OEMs likely to focus on larger screens—as big as 11 inches—in the coming years. The finding echoes what Bob O'Donnell told eWEEK last year. O'Donnell, who at the time was an IDC analyst and now is founder and chief analyst at TECHnalysis Research, said that as the screen sizes of smartphones and tablets get closer to each other, users will begin questioning the need for both. Most will opt for smartphones, given that smartphones already come with 4G capabilities—most tablets are still WiFi only—which could hurt low-end tablets. "If I've got a five-and-a-half-inch smartphone, why the hell would I buy a tablet?" O'Donnell asked.
"Tablet PC demand in 2014 is being affected by falling demand for the [7-inch] class in emerging regions and in China, where many local white-box brands have experienced lower-than-expected shipment growth," Hisakazu Torii, vice president of smart application research at NPD DisplaySearch, said in a statement. "Most major brands have recently reduced their business plans for 2014. There is a risk that the replacement cycle for tablet PCs will lengthen beyond the one to two year range unless brands can develop more attractive usage scenarios."