The worldwide device market is being driven by a shift to lower-priced devices in nearly all categories, including mobile phones, tablets and PCs, according to a report from IT analytics firm Gartner.
Worldwide combined shipments of PCs, tablets and mobile phones are projected to reach 2.32 billion units in 2013, a 4.5 percent increase from 2012.
The report indicated that as the third-quarter earnings season comes to an end, Gartner's caution for 2013 was well-placed as vendors are transitioning their portfolios to the new Intel processors Bay Trail and Haswell, as well as rolling out products that are based on the Windows 8.1 release.
"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 statement. "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."
Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs (desk-based and notebook) are forecast to total 303 million units in 2013, an 11.2 percent decline from 2012, and the PC market, including ultramobiles, is forecast to decline 8.4 percent in 2013.
"Although the preference is for dedicated devices, we see the opportunity for hybrid ultramobile to marry the functionality of a PC and the form factor of the tablet. Users that have to balance work and play will find that the advantage of buying and carrying one device outweighs the compromise in the full experience that single devices can deliver," Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, said in a statement. "Users who are not limited by their disposable income will likely have a basic tablet as a companion device to their ultramobile on which most of their consumption activities will take place."
Mobile phone shipments are projected to grow 3.7 percent, with a volume of more than 1.8 billion units. Tablet shipments are expected to grow 53.4 percent this year, with shipments reaching 184 million units.
The report projected that while the mobile phone market will continue to experience steady growth, the opportunity for high average selling price (ASP) smartphones is now ending. Growth is expected to come from midtier smartphones in mature markets and low-end Android smartphones in emerging markets.
Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia did not have a major impact on Gartner's latest forecast because the firm already assumed that Nokia would have accounted for the vast majority of Windows Phone share throughout the forecast, with only minimal volume coming from other original manufacturers (OEMs), such as HTC or Samsung.
"Windows Phone challenges in the smartphone market remain the same, with the need to bring on board more developers and enrich the ecosystem, as well as turning the Windows Phone brand into a cool smartphone brand," Milanesi said. "While there are clear benefits to the acquisition, such as channel strength, carrier relationship and emerging-market knowledge, the brand and ecosystem do not directly benefit from it."