Global Devices Market Slumps Second Year in Running: Gartner Report

Worldwide device shipments to decline for second year in a row; mobile phone shipments will fall 1.6 percent in 2016, but will return to growth in 2017

Gartner said worldwide combined shipments for devices (PCs, tablets, ultra-mobiles and mobile phones) are expected to decline 3 percent in 2016. This will mark the second consecutive year of decline. The global devices market fell by 0.75 percent in 2015.

Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner remarked, “The global devices market is not on pace to return to single-digit growth soon. Growth is on pace to remain flat during the next five years. All segments are expected to decline in 2016, except for premium ultra-mobiles and utility mobile phones (entry level phones), which are expected to show single-digit growth this year. We expect premium ultra-mobiles will start benefiting from the collective performance and integration of the latest Intel CPU platform and Windows 10.”

Table 1: Worldwide Devices Shipments by Device Type, 2015-2018 (Millions of Units)

Device Type 2015 2016 2017 2018
Traditional PCs (Desk-Based and Notebook) 244 216 205 199
Ultra-mobiles (Premium) 44 49 61 75
PC Market 288 265 266 274
Ultra-mobiles (Basic and Utility) 196 177 173 173
Computing Devices Market 484 442 439 447
Mobile Phones 1,917 1,887 1,910 1,933
Total Devices Market 2,401 2,329 2,349 2,380

Note: The Ultra-mobile (Premium) category includes devices such as Microsoft’s Windows 10 Intel x86 products and Apple’s MacBook Air.

The Ultra-mobile (Basic and Utility Tablets) category includes devices such as, iPad, iPad mini, Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, Amazon Fire HD, Lenovo Yoga Tab 3, Acer Iconia One. Source: Gartner (October 2016)

Additionally, Atwal said, “If this situation prevails it means that PC sales will bottom out in 2016. However, the PC market in Western Europe remains difficult following the Brexit vote. “Device vendors are mitigating the currency depreciation of the pound in two ways — first, they are taking advantage of the likelihood of a single-digit decline in PC component costs in 2016. Second, they will “de-feature” their PCs to keep prices down. With these changes, Gartner expects PC prices in the UK to increase by less than 10 percent in 2017. The inventory of Windows 8 PCs should have been cleared, and large businesses in mature markets are now looking to move to Windows 10 through 2018. In addition, more affordable hardware and increasingly available virtual reality content (such as games, stories and other entertainment) will enable consumer PC buyers to upgrade in order to experience immersive offerings.”

Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner said, “Total mobile phone shipments are on pace to decline 1.6 percent in 2016. The smartphone segment continues to grow, albeit more slowly than in previous years, and is expected to reach 1.5 billion units in 2016. “This is no surprise; the smartphone market is maturing, and reaching global saturation with phones that are increasingly capable and remain good enough for longer. We expect the market for premium smartphones to return to 3.5 per cent growth in 2017, as stronger replacement cycles kick in and in anticipation of a new iPhone next year, which is expected to offer a new design and new features that are attractive enough to convince more replacement buyers.”

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