Worldwide combined shipments of PCs, tablets, mobile phones and ultramobiles have decreased in 2016 and are expected to remain flat in 2017, but Gartner states that in 2018, device shipments will go up.

Gartner Inc. (Nasdaq: IT) is the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company that delivers technology-related data. The enterprise counts with CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations, large telecom businesses, professional services firms, and government agencies all over the globe to help people make decisions in the technology field.

Gartner states that in 2018, device shipments will go up. Photo credit: Lifehack
Gartner states that in 2018, device shipments will go up. Photo credit: Lifehack

Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, stated in a company press release that the global devices market is stagnating adding that mobile phone shipments are only growing in emerging Asia/Pacific markets. Atwal also said that the PC market is just reaching the bottom of its decline.

“As well as declining shipment growth for traditional devices, average selling prices are also beginning to stagnate because of market saturation and a slower rate of innovation,” stated Mr. Atwal. “Consumers have fewer reasons to upgrade or buy traditional devices. They are seeking fresher experiences and applications in emerging categories such as head mounted displays (HMDs), virtual personal assistant (VPA) speakers and wearables.”

Ultramobiles will boost the device shipping market in 2018 along with a PC’s replacement cycle

Ultramobiles are a tech category that includes midsize lightweight computing devices such as tablets and thin and lightweight tablets. Those devices will increase shipping, but not until 2018. Ultramobiles prices and their functionality will eclipse traditional PC sales although the last will benefit from a replacement cycle in 2018.

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 68.9 units in the third quarter of 2016. The number seems high but represent that shipments declined 5.7 compared to the third quarter of 2015, Gartner reports. That quarter represents the eight consecutive periods of PC shipment decline.

The longest duration of decline in the history of the PC industry has an explanation. There are lots of PCs in the consumer market, and most owners do not feel the need to buy new PCs. Many parents hand down old PCs to their kids and do not buy another one because they used another gadget as their primary computing device, including phones and tablets.

Another reason why the PC shipping market has declined is that cell phones, for example, are more regularly replaced than mature markets such as PCs.

Atwal stated that device vendors are increasingly trying to move into faster-growing emerging device categories, which requires a shift from a hardware-focused strategy to a richer value-added service approach.

Service-led approaches are becoming more crucial, forcing hardware providers to partner with service providers to meet the market’s needs. Hardware companies lack the expertise to deliver the service offering themselves, Mr. Atwal concluded. 

Source: Gartner