Worldwide device shipments set to continue growing this year, but at slower pace, according to Gartner
Insatiable consumer demand for smart devices will see a record 2.4 billion PCs, tablets, ‘ultramobiles’ and mobile phones sold during 2016 – a 1.9 percent increase last year – according to new figures from Gartner.
However, the analyst firm says this growth will coincide with an overall drop in the price of these connected products and predicts end-user spending will fall by 0.5 percent, marking the first such recorded drop, as a growing number of low-cost devices begin to flood the market.
Mobile phones will continue to make up the majority of sales, as shipments are predicted to increase from 1.91 billion last year to 1.96 billion by the end of 2016 (a rise of 2.6 percent), and reach 2.03 billion by 2018.
Smartphone make up an increasing number of these devices, with Gartner estimating that 82 percent of mobile phones will be smartphones by the end of 2016, up 12 percent from 2015.
Other consumers are preferring to continue using basic smartphones manufactured by local brands, such as Xiaomi in China, which offer an appealing amount of features for a low price, meaning there is no need to upgrade to an expensive premium device.
“Constant end-user spending on mobile phones is expected to increase by 1.2 percent in 2016, but its growth will not be strong enough for overall end-user device spend to achieve growth in 2016,” said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.
“At MWC 2016, a number of Android vendors will, as usual, release the next generation of their smartphone flagships. We’ll hopefully see an increased focus on differentiation by enabling unique, but relevant experiences, expansion to new functionalities and better tie to key app and service ecosystems.”
Sales of traditional PCs will continue to fall, Gartner estimates, dropping from 246 million sales last year to 232 million by the end of 2016.
However, this shortfall will be made up by increasing sales of premium “ultramobile” products, such as Apple’s MacBook Air, which will grow from 45 million in 2015 to 55 million by 2016 and 92 million by 2018.
Standard ultramobile products, which covers many of the tablet devices on the market today, will remain steady, shipping 195 million units by the end of 2016, rising to 198 million by 2018.
The rise in premium ultramobile products will be accelerated by the widespread deployment of Windows 10, Gartner believes, as businesses migrate their workers onto new devices over the next few years.
“Ultramobile premium devices are expected to drive the PC market forward with the move to Windows 10 and PCs built around Intel’s Skylake architecture,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. “We expect that businesses will deploy Windows 10 faster than with previous Windows upgrades.”
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