Gartner has warned manufacturers of PCs, tablets and smartphone of a tough year ahead, with global shipments of these devices forecast to exceed 2.3 billion units in 2017, which translates to a decline of roughly 0.3 percent from 2016.
But the good news is that things should pick up next year, after the analyst house forecast a 1.6 percent increase in shipments in 2018.
And the report revealed a little bit of good news for the PC market, after Gartner said that whilst PC shipments continue to decline, the rate of the decline is slowing compared to recent years.
According to Gartner’s breakdown of the PC market, only 203 million PCs (desktops and laptops) are expected to ship in 2017, down from 220 million devices in 2016.
2018 will see 195 million PCs shipped.
Ultramobiles such as Macbook Air and Windows 10 devices (i.e. SurfaceBook devices) will see shipments of 59 million in 2017, up from 50 million in 2016.
The popularity of this sector will continue to grow in 2018, with 72 million ultramobile devices expected to be shipped.
Gartner said that PC shipments are on pace to drop 3 percent in 2017, but the rate of decline is slower than in recent years, helped by Windows 10 replacement purchasing.
“Overall, the shipment growth of the device market is steady for the first time in many years,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. “PC shipments are slightly lower while smartphone shipments are slightly higher — leading to a slight downward revision in shipments from the previous forecast.”
“PC buyers continue to put quality and functionality ahead of price,” said Atwal. “Many organisations are coming to the end of their evaluation periods for Windows 10, and are now increasing the speed at which they adopt new PCs as they see the clear benefits of better security and newer hardware.”
The mobile phone market remains in robust health however. In 2017 Gartner estimates that 1,904 billion mobiles will ship, compared to 1,893 billion in 2016.
The growth here continues into 2018 with 1936 billion mobiles expected to ship next year.
And Gartner said that overall smartphone shipments will grow 5 per cent in 2017, reaching nearly 1.6 billion units.
It seems that customers are continuing to migrate from low-cost “utility” phones toward higher priced “basic” and “premium” smartphones. But Gartner said the smartphone market is now more dependent on new devices that offer something different, as users are extending their purchasing cycles and need to be enticed to make a replacement.
“The Samsung S8 and S8 Plus have had a strong impact so far in 2017, with users undeterred by battery issues that affected the Note 7 at the end of 2016,” said Roberta Cozza research director at Gartner.
“This good start points to a rebound for Samsung,” Cozza added. “Continued premium smartphone growth in 2017 will also be highly dependent on the forthcoming anniversary edition of Apple’s iPhone, which should bring more-drastic feature and design upgrades than the last few iterations.
Last year Gartner warned of flat IT spending after an erosion in business confidence because of Brexit, and price increases.
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