The mobile phone market will ship 1.94 billion units and grow 3.5 per cent in 2015, according to a new Gartner report, which added that “the presence of cheaper smartphones will continue to appeal to consumers and counter the need to increase prices.”

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

However, the number of shipments are not going to grow at an exponential rate in the coming years: they are expected to hit 2.02 billion in 2016 and 2.06 billion in 2017.

The study also notes that while mobile phone pricing has been increasing over the last few years driven by a rising premium-phone average selling price, it will now “remain flat or slightly down as the smartphone market reaches saturation over the next few years.”

When it comes to ‘ultramobiles’, a term used for tablets and clamshells such as the iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.5 and the Nexus 7, the report says they are on pace to total 237 million shipments in 2015, a 4.3 percent increase over 2014 globally.

According to 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.”

Last week, IDC did a review in which it scaled back its five-year outlook for the tablet sector, with growth slowing to “low single digits”.

Gartner also expects an increasing percentage of users of high-end Android devices to move to Apple because Android vendors at the high end are finding it hard to differentiate and add value beyond technology and features, especially when they are dealing with “Apple’s brand clout and ecosystem, along with the new large-screen iPhone models.”

As for worldwide combined shipments of devices (PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones), the total market is estimated to reach 2.5 billion units in 2015, an increase of 2.8 per cent over 2014.