The figure compares to 116 million tablet units shipped last year and is predicted to continue to rise – reaching 266 million in 2014 and 468 million in 2017 – as consumers buying habits continue to shift towards these newer and more affordable devices.
“Growth in the tablet segment will not be limited to mature markets alone. Users in emerging markets who are looking for a companion to their mobile phone will increasingly choose a tablet as their first computing device and not a PC,” said Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal.
Consumers are tipped to be swayed by a rise in lower-priced tablets with increasing capabilities, with Gartner predicting the PC market of notebooks and desk-based units will decline 7.6% to 315 million units in 2013. This downwards trend expected to continue in the coming years, with PC shipments falling to 272 million by 2017.
Smartphone sales are also on the rise. Of the 1.875 billion mobile phones expected to be sold in 2013, 1 billion units will be smartphones, compared with 675 million units in 2012, said Gartner.
“While there will be some individuals who retain both a personal PC and a tablet, especially those who use either or both for work and play, most will be satisfied with the experience they get from a tablet as their main computing device,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.