Worldwide combined shipments of PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones are projected to total 2.3 billion in 2017, same as 2016 estimates, according to market research firm Gartner. By the end of 2016, there were nearly seven billion phones, tablets and PCs in use in the world. Gartner predicts flat shipments of traditional devices until 2018, when a small increase in ultramobiles and mobile phone shipments is expected.
“The global devices market is stagnating. Mobile phone shipments are only growing in emerging Asia/Pacific markets, and the PC market is just reaching the bottom of its decline,” said Ranjit Atwal, Research Director at Gartner. The PC market is expected to benefit from a replacement cycle towards the end of this forecast period, returning to growth in 2018, Gartner noted. The research firm noted that as traditional PC sales are showing a decline, premium ultramobile prices and functionality will entice buyers and the mobile phone market will also benefit from replacements.
“People in emerging markets still see smartphones as their main computing device and replace them more regularly than mature markets,” said Atwal. Device vendors are increasingly trying to move into faster-growing emerging device categories but this requires a shift from a hardware-focused approach to a richer value-added service approach. “As service-led approaches become even more crucial, hardware providers will have to partner with service providers, as they lack the expertise to deliver the service offerings themselves,” said Atwal.