Wednesday, 27 May 2020 11:23

Gartner says global device shipments will fall by 13.6% in 2020 Featured

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Gartner says global device shipments will fall by 13.6% in 2020 Image by Merio from Pixabay

The world will witness a 13.6% drop in shipments of devices — PCs, tablets and mobile phones — in 2020, meaning that total shipments will be 1.9 billion units, the tech research firm Gartner has forecast.

The company's senior research director, Ranjit Atwal, said the decline could have been much worse, were it not for the increase in working from home.

"Government lockdowns due to COVID-19 forced businesses and schools to enable millions of people to work from home and increase spending on new notebooks, Chromebooks and tablets for those workers," said Atwal.

"Education and government establishments also increased spending on those devices to facilitate e-learning.”

The firm said PC shipments were expected to fall by 10.5% in 2020, with the fall in notebooks, tablets and Chromebooks to be slower.

Forty-eight percent of employees are expected to work remotely at least some of the time after the coronavirus pandemic ends, Gartner forecast, adding that this was up from a figure of 30% before the outbreak.

“This trend, combined with businesses required to create flexible business continuity plans, will make business notebooks displace desk-based PCs through 2021 and 2022,” said Atwal.

Another prediction was that while mobile shipments would fall by 14.6% in 2020, smartphones would fall by 13.7% to 1.3 billion units.

Atwal said: “While users have increased the use of their mobile phones to communicate with colleagues, work partners, friends and families during lockdowns, reduced disposable income will result in fewer consumers upgrading their phones. As a result, phone lifetimes will extend from 2.5 years in 2018 to 2.7 years in 2020.”

Affordable 5G smartphones had been expected to be the driver of phone replacements but the pandemic had knocked that on the head, with 5G phones only making up 11% of total mobile shipments for the year.

“The delayed delivery of some 5G flagship phones is an ongoing issue,” said Annette Zimmermann, research vice-president at Gartner. “Moreover, the lack of 5G geographical coverage along with the increasing cost of the 5G phone contract will impact the choice of a 5G phone.”

China was the only bright spot cited, with the country expected to continue its investment in 5G infrastructure, making it possible for Chinese providers to market 5G phones.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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