Gartner expects that worldwide combined shipments of devices (PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones) will rise to 2.4 billion units in 2016, however that end-user spending will decline for the first time.Gartner figures have device shipments increasing 1.9 per cent year-on-year, with end-user spending in constant US dollars declining 0.5 per cent.
“It’s clear that vendors can no longer market their products with the mind of only targeting the mature and emerging markets,” Ranjit Atwal, Gartner research director, observed.
“Driven by economic variations, the market is splitting into four categories: economically challenged mature markets, economically stable mature markets and the same for emerging markets.”
Global PC shipments are expected to total 287 million units in 2016, a 1 per cent decline year-on-year, returning to growth in 2017, up 4 per cent, and growing a further 4 per cent in 2018.
“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,” Atwal commented. “We expect that businesses will deploy Windows 10 faster than with previous Windows upgrades.”
A Gartner global survey of 3,000 business respondents conducted in the fourth quarter of 2015 found that nearly 80 per cent of businesses are expected to have completed testing and evaluation of Windows 10 within 12 months and over 60 per cent within nine months.
“Given the shorter testing and evaluation period, many businesses could start to migrate by the end of 2016,” Atwal stated.
“By the end of 2017, many business are looking to move as much as 40 per cent of their installed base onto new Windows 10 devices, mainly driven by the appeal hybrid touch-screen 2-1. This will be the catalyst for growth in the PC market in 2017.”
Meanwhile, mobile phone shipments are on pace to increase 2.6 per cent this year. While constant end-user spending is expected to increase 1.2 per cent, this will not be strong enough for overall end-user device spend to achieve growth in 2016, Gartner research director Roberta Cozza noted.
Smartphone shipments continue to drive growth, with Gartner estimating that, by the end of the year, 82 per cent of mobile phones will be smartphones, up 12 per cent from 2015.
“We are witnessing a shift to basic phones in the smartphone market,” Cozza commented. “Users are also opting to replace within the basic smartphone category without necessarily moving to high-end smartphones, especially in China and some other emerging markets.”
More advanced and attractive basic smartphones are fulfilling users’ needs at a lower cost, Gartner observed.
“At MWC 2016, a number of Android vendors will, as usual, release the next generation of their smartphone flagships,” Cozza commented.
“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.”