“Combined shipments worldwide for devices like mobile phones and computers may decline by three percent this year to 2.32 billion units, impacted by fall across segments except premium ultramobiles and entry level phones. This will mark the second consecutive year of decline,” research firm Gartner said in a report. The global devices market fell by 0.75 per cent in 2015 to 2.4 billion units, it added.
“The global devices market is not on pace to return to single-digit growth soon. Growth is on pace to remain flat during the next five years,” Gartner Research Director Ranjit Atwal said. All segments are expected to decline in 2016, except for premium ultramobiles and utility mobile phones (entry level phones), which are expected to show single-digit growth this year, he added.
“We expect premium ultramobiles will start benefiting from the collective performance and integration of the latest Intel CPU platform and Windows 10,” Atwal said. Desk-based PCs and notebook shipments are expected to decline from 244 million in 2015 to 216 million units this year and further decline to 205 million (2017) and 199 million units (2018).
The PC market is expected to exhibit an 8 per cent decline in 2016, as the installed base bottoms out and replacement cycle extensions halt, Gartner said. Ultramobiles premium — that includes products like Microsoft’s Surface Pro and Apple’s MacBook Air — is, however, forecast to gain pace with shipments growing from 44 million units in 2015 to 49 million units (2016) and further to 61 million (2017) and 75 million units (2018).
Shipment of basic and utility tablets — which devices like iPad, iPad mini, Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 and Acer Iconia One — is projected to fall from 196 million units in 2015 to 177 million this year and further to 173 million in 2017 and remain flat post that.
Mobile phone shipment, on the other hand is expected to fall in 2016, but recover in the next two years. Compared to 1.91 billion mobile phones in 2015, shipment is likely to dip to 1.88 billion units in 2016 before recovering to 1.91 billion in 2017 and further to 1.93 billion in 2018.
“The smartphone segment continues to grow, albeit more slowly than in previous years, and is expected to reach 1.5 billion units in 2016,” the report said.
Gartner Research Director Roberta Cozza said this is no surprise as the smartphone market is maturing and reaching global saturation with phones that are increasingly capable and remain good enough for longer.
In 2016, the Android market will continue to be bolstered by Chinese vendors offering more affordable premium devices.
“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 said.