Tablets, Smartphones to Drive Mobile Market in 2014: Gartner

Mobile phones are expected to dominate overall device shipments, with 1.9 billion mobile phones shipped in 2014, a 5 percent increase from 2013.

In 2014, the worldwide tablet market is forecast to grow 47 percent with lower average selling prices attracting new users, as consumers continue to buy tablets as an additional device that they carry everywhere, according to IT research firm Gartner.

Mobile phones are expected to dominate overall device shipments, with 1.9 billion mobile phones shipped in 2014, a 5 percent increase from 2013, while ultramobiles, which include tablets, hybrids and clamshells, will take over as the main driver of growth in the devices market from 2014, with a growth rate of 54 percent.

Worldwide combined shipments of devices (PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones) are projected to reach 2.5 billion units in 2014, a 7.6 percent increase from 2013, the report projected.

The Gartner consumer survey indicated that less than 8 percent of users would replace their laptop with a tablet, while a transfer to an Ultrabook is almost twice this figure.

"The device market continues to evolve, with buyers deciding which combination of devices is required to meet their wants and needs. Mobile phones are a must-have and will continue to grow but at a slower pace, with opportunities moving away from the top-end premium devices to mid-end basic products," Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, said in a statement. "Meanwhile, users continue to move away from the traditional PC (notebooks and desk-based) as it becomes more of a shared content creation tool, while the greater flexibility of tablets, hybrids and lighter notebooks address users' increasingly different demands."

Awal also noted complimentary smaller tablets are likely to take over from the larger tablet form factors, providing the added mobility that consumers desire at a lower cost and therefore would compete with hybrids for consumer attention.

Among the operating system (OS) market players, Google’s Android platform is on pace to surpass one billion users across all devices in 2014. By 2017, more than 75 percent of Android's volumes will come from emerging markets, the report said.

"There is no doubt that there is a volume-versus-value equation, with Android users also purchasing lower-cost devices compared to Apple users," Annette Zimmerman, principal analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. "Android holds the largest number of installed-base devices, with 1.9 billion in use in 2014, compared with 682 million iOS/Mac OS installed-base devices."

Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs are forecast to total 278 million units in 2014, a 7 percent decline from 2013. Driven by an uptake in Windows ultramobiles, the PC market is estimated to remain flat in 2014 (0.2 percent), after a decline of 9.9 percent in 2013.