Thursday, 09 July 2015 01:47

IT device sales set to fall for first time since 2010 Featured

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A major analyst firm says worldwide device shipments to grow 1.5%, reaching 2.5 billion units in 2015, down from a forecast 2.8% growth, with sales down since 2010.

Gartner has released its latest stats on worldwide combined shipment of IT devices including PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones.

Shipments are expected to reach 2.5 billion units during 2015, which is a 1.5% increase on 2014, but which Gartner says is ‘down from the previous quarter's forecast of 2.8 percent growth.’

Interestingly, while end-user spending on devices is set to total $606 billion this year, it will show that, for the first since since 2010, a 5.7% decline in current U.S. dollars.

These stats can be seen in the two tablets supplied by Gartner below, with all of this detail available and much more from Gartner in a paid report entitled “Forecast: PCs, Ultramobiles and Mobile Phones, Worldwide, 2012-2019, 2Q15 Update."

Ranjit Atwal, a Gartner research director said: “Our forecast for unit shipment growth for all devices in 2015 has dropped by 1.3% from last quarter's estimate.

"This was partly due to a continued slowdown in PC purchases in Western Europe, Russia and Japan in particular, largely due to price increases resulting from local currency devaluation against the dollar."

It’s the mobile phone market that continues to show growth as prices are falling, with China leading the way amongst the rest of the emerging markets driving all this growth.

Table-1

Gartner points to the end of Windows XP migration negatively affecting ‘the PC market globally during the first half of 2015; however, the greater impact remains the currency depreciation against the dollar.

'PC vendors are increasingly reducing their inventory levels — by at least 5% until the end of 2015 — as a way to minimise pricing exposure in the channel.’

Gartner expects 300 total global PC shipments this year, which is a drop of 4.5% year or year.

Atwal added: “We do not expect the global PC market to recover until 2016.

“The release of Windows 10 on 29th July will contribute to a slowing professional demand for mobile PCs and premium ultramobiles in 2015, as lifetimes extend by three months.

“However, as suppliers and buyers adjust to new prices, Windows 10 could boost replacements during 2016."

Ultra mobiles comprising of both tablets and clamshells ‘is also on pace to contract in 2015’, with shipments ‘estimated to total 214 million units in 2015, a decline of 5.3% year on year.’

Not even tablets are immune from the expected drop in sales, with Gartner stating that ‘tablets will account for 207 million units, a decline of 5.9% from 2014.’

Roberta Cozza, another Gartner research director said: "The tablet market is hit by fewer new buyers, extended life cycles and little innovation to encourage new purchases.

"At the same time, the value of a smartwatch for the average user is still not compelling enough and the impact of these wearables on tablet purchases remains negligible. The tablet has become a ‘nice to have’ device, and there is no real need for an upgrade as regularly as for the phone."

Smartphones with screen sizes of around 5-inches are also seeing their owners rely on them more, especially as they gain new functions and capabilities, something ‘affecting the appeal of smaller tablets in markets such as Western Europe and North America, beyond Asia.’

Thus, Gartner is extending ‘the average lifetime of the tablet to three years by 2016,’ with Cozza adding: “We also expect the tablet market to reach a penetration close to 50 percent of households in mature markets by 2016, which is soon.”

Then we get to Gartner’s mobile phone growth predictions, where the market growth rate ‘is expected to slow down to 3.3% growth in 2015.’

Annette Zimmerman, yet another Gartner research director said: “The global market has been affected by a weaker performance in China. We have witnessed fewer and fewer first time buyers in China, a sign that the mobile phone market in there is reaching saturation.

"Vendors in China will have to win replacement buyers and improve the appeal of their premium offerings to attract upgrades, if they want to maintain or increase their market share."

"Vendors looking to grow their performance in the global smartphone market will be challenged to quickly enhance their expansion into emerging markets outside of China, where we still witness a sizeable share of feature phones and an opportunity for double-digit smartphone growth," concluded Ms. Zimmermann.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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