TABLETS are set to outsell traditional computers for the first time next year, new figures show – as Apple prepares to launch a new iPad today.
The figures, from IT analyst firm Gartner, show that sales of laptops and desktop PCs are slumping by more than 10pc a year, with just 303 million set to be sold this year.
Tablet sales, including iPads, will soar to 263 million next year and are due to overtake PC sales by the end of 2014.
Irish retailers say consumers are abandoning traditional PCs in favour of tablets and other touchscreen devices for home use.
However, sales of tablets and phones using the Android system are soaring. According to Gartner, Android devices are now outselling the combined number of PCs, laptops, iPhones and iPads by almost two to one.
The jump in Android sales means that overall sales of computing devices will rise next year by 4.5pc. The research also indicates that so-called 'wearable computers', such as Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch, will not replace phones any time soon.
Despite the ability to make and take calls by themselves, less than 1pc of shoppers say they will use a wearable device instead of a phone or a tablet.
"In the short-term, we expect consumers to look at wearables as nice to have rather than a 'must have', leaving smartphones to play the role of our faithful companion throughout the day," said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.
Meanwhile, Nokia is set to announce a surge in sales to eight million phones for its third fiscal quarter, according to 'The Wall St Journal'.
This would more than double the firm's sales compared to the same time last year. Nokia has struggled to find traction in the market with its Windows Mobile operating system. In Ireland, the company is believed to have around 5pc of new phone sales.