The global decline in sales of laptops and desktops is set to continue during 2014, both locally and overseas.

This is according to Christopher Riley, CEO of The Notebook Company, who comments: “We are seeing a constant decline – a decline that will not abate. Laptop sales are still losing ground to tablets, but, in the future, users won’t necessary simply replace their laptops with tablets. Instead they will chose their particular piece of equipment of choice- be it a laptop, tablet, smartphone or PC.”

Gartner has already forecast a 6% drop in sales of laptops and desktops in 2014, compared to last year. The company also predicts another drop of nearly 5% in 2015.

The researcher expects 276,7-million PCs to ship to retailers in 2014, with this dropping further to 263-million units in 2015.

Over the past few years, two-thirds of laptop and desktop owners have replaced their hardware with updated models. Of the remaining third, most replaced their old machines with tablets and tablet hybrids, with a smaller number not buying replacements of any kind, comments Gartner analyst Ranjit Atwal.

The trend in recent years towards replacing laptops with tablets will also decline in 2014. This is fundamentally because both consumers and businesses will become more discriminating as they sort out “the right device for the right usage pattern”, Atwal says.

Despite this shift, tablet sales are forecast to grow 38,6% in 2014 to 270,7-million units globally.

Riley says his company is still experiencing “robust sales “of tablets, especially iPads, with laptop sales consistently on the wane.

“The Notebook Company’s sales graphs are more or less in synch with what we are seeing in the rest of the world,” he says. “But, what is going to perhaps prove to be very interesting in the marketplace is the arrival of Apple’s 12-inch iPad hybrid – which market analysts believe might make major inroads into the notebook PC landscape. This could certainly throw out some statistics.”