​Devices set to decline as PCs and smartphones struggle

​Devices set to decline as PCs and smartphones struggle

Global devices market not on pace to return to single-digit growth soon.

Worldwide combined shipments for devices, including PCs, tablets, ultra-mobiles and mobile phones, are expected to decrease three percent in 2016, marking the second consecutive year of decline.

According to Gartner findings, the global devices market fell by 0.75 percent in 2015.

Gartner’s figures also show that the Australian market will play a role in the global decline, with the firm forecasting device shipments of 15.94 million in 2016, dropping to 15.8 million in 2017.

However, Gartner suggested that device volumes will either stabilise or rise slightly in 2018, with the company estimating shipments of around 15.83 million the year after next. While still lower than the 2016 estimate, it will represent an improvement on 2017.

“The global devices market is not on pace to return to single-digit growth soon,” Gartner research director, Ranjit Atwal, said.

“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.”


From a PC perspective, the market is expected to exhibit an eight per cent decline in 2016, as the installed base bottoms out and replacement cycle extensions halt.

“The effect of currency depreciation on the market is diminishing,” Atwal added.

“The second quarter of 2016 was the first since the second quarter of 2015 least impacted by currency depreciation.”

If this situation prevails, Atwal believes it will means that PC sales will bottom out in 2016, however, for the market to stay on pace for flat growth in 2017, business spending needs to flourish.

“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,” he added.

“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.


Findings show that total mobile phone shipments are on pace to decline 1.6 percent in 2016.

As a result, 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,” Gartner research director, Roberta Cozza, added.

“The smartphone market is maturing, and reaching global saturation with phones that are increasingly capable and remain good enough for longer.”

In 2016, Cozza said the Android market will continue to be bolstered by Chinese vendors offering more affordable premium devices.

Despite the availability of the iPhone 7, Gartner expects a weaker year-over-year volume performance from Apple in 2016, as volumes stabilise after a very strong 2015.

Consequently, Gartner expects total smartphone market to only increase 4.5 percent with premium smartphones declining 1.1 percent in 2016.

“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,” Cozza added.

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