Mobile phone shipments will continue to show growth in an otherwise bleak outlook for the combined devices market in 2015, according to Gartner.
Shipments in the device segment, which combined includes mobile phones, tablets, PCs and ultramobiles, is expected to contract by 1 per cent from last year (to 2.4 billion units), according to the research group, largely due to a lack of demand for replacements.
The figure is also a decline from the group’s previous quarter’s forecast of 1.5 per cent growth, which it also cut from an expected 2.8 per cent increase in March.
Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal believes the latest declining forecast is largely due to the fact “users are now extending the lifetime of their devices, or deciding not to replace their devices at all”.
“Replacement activity across all types of devices has decreased,” he said.
Mobile bucks the trend
Shipment device decline will occur in all but one category in 2015, with mobile phones expected to buck the trend and actually increase by 1.4 per cent by the end of the year, reaching 1.9 billion units.
The growth is largely driven by smartphones, which will increase by 14 per cent in 2015, with Asia-Pacific, including India and Indonesia, showing the strongest increase globally at 43 per cent.
According to data available, Gartner said mobile phone shipment growth will continue through to 2017.
“By 2017, we estimate mobile phone shipments will reach the 2 billion market, and smartphones will represent 89 per cent of the market,” said Gartner research director Annette Zimmermann.
Tablets, PCs and laptops
In contrast, the tablet segment continues to suffer, with shipments set to reach 192 million units in 2015, a 13 per cent drop from last year.
Zimmermann said “the tablet market is coming under increasing pressure”, with users of tablets with a screen size between 7 and 8 inches “increasingly not replacing their devices”.
Gartner added that its survey, which was conducted across six countries, indicated 44 per cent of tablet users would substitute their tablets with a different device, while the same was true for 54 per cent of laptop users.
PCs, too, is expected to decline by 7.3 per cent year on year, totalling 291 million units in 2015, with forecasts suggesting flat growth in 2016.
Atwal predicts this part of the market will pick up by 2017, with “Windows 10 adoption among businesses expected to ramp up”.
“We expect the PC market to return to a 4 per cent growth,” he added.
Overall, Gartner said shipments of the entire device market will return to growth in 2016, reaching 2.459 billion shipments.