Personal computer sales have been sliding for years now because of the ever-increasing popularity of tablets. Next year, consumer tastes will have shifted so much that tablet shipments are expected to pass PCs the first time in 2015.
Manufacturers will ship 321 million tablets globally next year compared with 317 million PCs, according to a report released on Monday by Gartner, the market research firm. Granted, the number of devices shipped isn’t the same as the number sold, but often, the two figures go hand-in-hand.
But not all tablets will fare well. Expect a slow-down for sales of some brands, particularly those with smaller screens, as shoppers lean towards devices with bigger displays, including ones that blur the line between smartphone and tablets – those awkwardly dubbed “phablets.” And given relative maturity of the certain markets like the U.S., Gartner Research Director Ranjit Atwal argued the next feature tablets will tussle over won’t be faster chips or lighter frames — features that set products like Apple’s (AAPL) iPad apart in the past — but simply, price. Said Atwal: “The next wave of adoption will be driven by lower price points rather than superior functionality.”