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If you offer PCs to your customers, but haven’t yet added 2-in-1 devices to the mix, better get going.

Unit sales of traditional desktop and laptop PCs will decline through at least 2019, predicts a new report from research and advisory company Gartner.

At the same time, Gartner says, unit sales of what it calls “premium ultramobiles” will grow.

This premium-ultramobiles category includes 2-in-1s as well as very light and thin laptops. For example, the Apple MacBook Air, which weighs in at under 3 pounds and measures only about 0.7 inches thick.

Fast growth for 2-in-1s

So let’s dig in to the numbers. Global sales of traditional desktop and laptop PCs, Gartner expects, will fall steadily for the next few years. Last year, the industry shipped 220 million of these devices. This year, it will ship only 203 million units. And by 2019, Gartner predicts, total worldwide shipments of traditional PC will fall to 191 million units.

Assuming Gartner is right, by 2019, global shipments of traditional PCs will have dropped by 25 million units from what they were in 2016. That works out to a decline of roughly 13 percent.

Meanwhile, shipments of premium ultramobiles (again, including 2-in-1s) will grow, Gartner says. Last year, global shipments of these devices came to 50 million units. This year, shipments will increase to 59 million units. And by 2019, Gartner predicts, 82 million.

That works out to 32 million more units a year, an increase over 2016’s shipments of 64 percent.

Tablet slowdown

Tablet shipments will also shrink through 2019, Gartner expects, though not as quickly as traditional PCs.

For some reason, Gartner calls this segment of the market “basic and utility ultramobiles.” Included in this category are tablets such as the Apple iPad, Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 and Acer Iconia One.

Shipments of these devices will decline from 169 million units worldwide last year to 158 million units in 2019, Gartner predicts. That’s a downward trend of 9 million units, a decline of about 5 percent.

So here are your choices: A PC market segment that’s forecast to shrink 13 percent by 2019 … a tablet market set to shrink 5 percent … or a PC market segment set to grow 64 percent.

Not much of a choice, is it?


Also see:

Why server sales fell in Q1

How’s the PC business? Getting better, say IDC, HP, Lenovo

Tablets: Even low-cost devices can’t lift this market


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