Gartner says global devices shipments to grow 2.8 per cent in 2015

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March 21, 2015: Worldwide combined shipments of devices (PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones) are estimated to reach 2.5 billion units in 2015, an increase of 2.8 percent over 2014 (see Table 1) according to Gartner, Inc. In spending terms, the global computing devices market (PCs and ultramobiles) is on pace to reach $226 billion, a 7.2 percent decline in current U.S. dollars. 

Stripping out the impact of exchange-rate movements (constant U.S. dollars), the global computing devices spending will decrease 3.1 percent in 2015. The global PC market is on pace to total 306 million units in 2015, a 2.4 percent decrease over 2014. 

“The fall in PC purchases is primarily due to expected price increases by vendors in Europe and other regions, which is forced by local currency depreciation against the dollar,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. “The currency squeeze is forcing PC vendors to increase their prices in order to remain profitable and, as result, it is suppressing purchases. We expect businesses will delay purchases of new PCs, and consumers will delay or ‘de-feature’ their purchases. However, this reduction in purchasing is not a downturn, it is a reshaping of the market driven by currency.” 

The mobile phone market, the largest and most profitable segment of the global device market, is expected to total 1.9 billion units and grow 3.5 percent in 2015. The presence of cheaper smartphones will continue to appeal to consumers, and counter the need to increase prices. Mobile phone pricing has been increasing over the last few years driven by a rising premium-phone average selling price, but now will remain flat or slightly down as the smartphone market reaches saturation over the next few years. 

“Consumers will continue to prioritize spending on phones over PCs and tablets in 2015,” said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.

Table 1

Worldwide Devices Shipments by Device Type, 2014-2017 (Thousands of Units)

Device Type 2014 2015 2016 2017
Traditional PCs (Desk-Based and Notebook) 277,118 252,881 243,628 236,341
Ultramobile (Premium) 36,699 53,452 74,134 90,945
PC Market 313,817 306,333 317,762 327,285
Ultramobiles (Tablets and Clamshells) 227,080 236,778 257,985 276,026
Computing Devices Market 540,897 543,111 575,747 603,311
Mobile Phones 1,878,968 1,943,952 2,017,861 2,055,954
Total Devices Market 2,419,864 2,487,062 2,593,608 2,659,265

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, HP Pavilion 11, Lenovo Yoga 2 11 and Dell Inspiron 13.

Ultramobiles – all Ultramobile Basic and Utility Devices

Table 2

Worldwide Computing Devices Market Spending by Device Type, 2014-2017 (Billions of U.S. Dollars)

Device Type 2014 2015 2016 2017
PC Market Total 193 178 179 177
Ultramobiles  51 48 50 51
Total Computing Devices Market 244 226 229 228

Note: The data has been rounded up and may impact the overall growth rate.

Worldwide ultramobile shipments, which include tablets and clamshells, are on pace to total 237 million units in 2015, a 4.3 percent increase over 2014.

“Following rapid growth, the current mature consumer installed base for tablets is comparable to that of notebooks,” said Ms. Cozza. “Not only is the tablet segment nearing saturation in mature markets, but the influx of hybrids and phablets will compete directly with tablets in emerging markets.”

Gartner analysts expect that an increasing percentage of users of high-end Android devices will move to iOS. “Android vendors at the high end are finding it hard to differentiate and add value beyond technology and features,” said Ms. Cozza. “Furthermore, Apple’s brand clout and ecosystem — alongside the new large-screen iPhone models — are strong alternatives.”

“We also estimate that, despite Apple’s premium price tags, the iOS base replacement cycle that started in the fourth quarter of 2014 with the larger iPhones will carry on into 2015,” said Ms. Cozza.