Gartner predicted 2017 will be tough for device makers, tipping worldwide shipments to remain largely flat year-on-year and average selling prices (ASPs) to come under pressure.
The analyst company predicted 1.89 billion phones will be shipped in 2017, which is essentially flat compared with 2016 when Gartner said 1.88 billion phones shipped. Looking further ahead the picture is not much more rosy: Gartner forecasts shipments of 1.92 billion in 2018 and 1.94 billion in 2019.
It is not only handsets that are struggling. Shipments of “computing devices” – PCs, tablets and ultramobiles – are forecast to reach 432 million in 2017 compared with 436 million in 2016. Only the premium ultramobile market – products including Microsoft’s Surface and Apple’s MacBook Air – is showing growth.
Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, said: “The global devices market is stagnating. Mobile phone shipments are only growing in emerging Asia Pacific markets, and the PC market is just reaching the bottom of its decline.”
The weakness is coupled with stagnating ASPs caused by market saturation and slower rates of innovation. In addition, vendors are increasingly looking to fast-growing emerging device categories to reinvigorate their performance.
“As service-led approaches become even more crucial, hardware providers will have to partner with service providers, as they lack the expertise to deliver the service offerings themselves,” Atwal said.