Average selling prices (ASP) for mobile phones are forecast to stop rising over the next two years although shipment will keep growing moderately, fueled by demand for mid-tier smartphones and lower-tier Google Android devices, according to researcher Gartner Inc.
Although Gartner is not predicting a drop in ASPs, it believes consumers are gradually turning away from the higher-end smartphones that drove up pricing over the last few years and opting instead for lower-priced and mid-tier devices. High-end smartphones, while generally preferred, will lose market share in the end-of-year holiday season because consumers are being more selective in their buying habits, the researcher said.
“While consumers will be bombarded with ads for the new ultramobile devices, we expect their attention to be grabbed but not necessarily their money,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner in a statement. “Continuing on the trend we saw last year, we expect this holiday season to be all about smaller tablets as even the long-term holiday favorite—the smartphone—loses its appeal.”
The implication is that PC sales will continue to decline in the next few years with shipment slipping 11.2 percent in 2013 to 303 million units from the prior year. Mobile phones, on the other hand, will rise approximately 4 percent, to 1.8 billion units. Gartner said tablet shipments will continue to rise strongly and are seen climbing 53 percent in 2013 to 184.4 million from 120 million in 2012. Tablet shipments are expected to rise 43 percent in 2014 to 263.2 million units.
“Although the preference is for dedicated devices, we see the opportunity for hybrid ultramobile to marry the functionality of a PC and the form factor of the tablet. Users that have to balance work and play will find that the advantage of buying and carrying one device outweighs the compromise in the full experience that single devices can deliver,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. “Users who are not limited by their disposable income will likely have a basic tablet as a companion device to their ultramobile on which most of their consumption activities will take place.”
Gartner said it expects the Google Android operating system to continue to dominate the “worldwide device” market, followed by Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s iOS. In 2014, devices installed with the Android OS will command 38 percent market share, rising to 45 percent in 2014. Windows devices are expected to only slightly increase their market share to 14.6 in 2014 from 14.3 percent in 2013. Apple iOS market share is forecast at 11.7 percent in 2013 and 13.6 percent in 2014.