Global shipments of PCs, tablets, ultra-mobiles, and mobile phones are forecast to reach 2.5 billion units in 2015, according to Gartner Inc. This is an increase of 1.5 percent from 2014 but down from the previous quarter’s forecast of 2.8 percent growth.
The report, "Forecast: PCs, Ultramobiles and Mobile Phones, Worldwide, 2012-2019, 2Q15 Update," forecasts that end-user spending on devices will total $606 billion in 2015. This is the first time since 2010 it will show a 5.7 percent decline in current U.S. dollars, said Gartner.
Worldwide End-User Spending on Devices, 2014-2017
(Millions of U.S. Dollars)
|Total End-User Spending||641,926||605,633||616,664||627,124|
Note: The data has been rounded up, which may affect the overall growth rate.
Source: Gartner (July 2015)
"Our forecast for unit shipment growth for all devices in 2015 has dropped by 1.3 percentage points from last quarter's estimate," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, in a statement. "This was partly due to a continued slowdown in PC purchases in Western Europe, Russia and Japan in particular, largely due to price increases resulting from local currency devaluation against the dollar."
The report indicates the mobile phone market, despite falling prices, is the only market to show growth, driven by emerging markets, particularly China. However, Gartner projects the growth rate will slow down to 3.3 percent growth in 2015.
"The global market has been affected by a weaker performance in China. We have witnessed fewer and fewer first time buyers in China, a sign that the mobile phone market in there is reaching saturation. Vendors in China will have to win replacement buyers and improve the appeal of their premium offerings to attract upgrades, if they want to maintain or increase their market share," said Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner, in a statement.
"Vendors looking to grow their performance in the global smartphone market will be challenged to quickly enhance their expansion into emerging markets outside of China, where we still witness a sizeable share of feature phones and an opportunity for double-digit smartphone growth," she continued.
Worldwide Devices Shipments by Device Type, 2014-2017
(Millions of Units)
|Traditional PCs (Desk-Based and Notebook)||277||251||243||233|
|Ultramobiles (Tablets and Clamshells)||226||214||228||244|
|Computing Devices Market||540||514||539||566|
|Total Devices Market||2,419||2,454||2,546||2,628|
Note: The Ultramobile (Premium) category includes devices such as Microsoft's Windows 8 Intel x86 products and Apple's MacBook Air. The Ultramobile (Tablets and Clamshells) category includes devices such as, iPad, iPad mini, Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5, Nexus 7 and Acer Iconia Tab 8. Ultramobiles — All Ultramobile Basic and Utility Devices.
Source: Gartner (July 2015)
Although the end of the Windows XP migration during the first half of 2015 hurt the PC market this year, the bigger impact is the currency depreciation against the dollar, said Gartner. In addition, PC vendors continue to reduce inventory levels “by at least five percent until the end of 2015 – as a way to minimize pricing exposure in the channel.”
Gartner forecasts a decline of 4.5 percent year on year for global PC shipments, which is expected to reach 300 million units in 2015. A recovery is not projected until 2016.
Similarly, the ultra-mobile market – tablets and clamshells – also is expected to shrink in 2015. Ultramobile shipments are forecast to total 214 million units in 2015, a decline of 5.3 percent year on year, while tablets will reach 207 million units, a decline of 5.9 percent from 2014, said Gartner.
"The tablet market is hit by fewer new buyers, extended life cycles and little innovation to encourage new purchases," said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, in a statement. "At the same time, the value of a smartwatch for the average user is still not compelling enough and the impact of these wearables on tablet purchases remains negligible. The tablet has become a "nice to have" device, and there is no real need for an upgrade as regularly as for the phone."
Gartner analysts also report that users are relying more on their smartphones thanks to higher functionality and standard 5-inch screen sizes, which is affecting the demand for smaller tablets in markets such as Western Europe and North America. As a result, Gartner has extended the average tablet lifetime to three years by 2016, and expects tablets to penetrate close to 50 percent of households in mature markets by 2016.