Gartner backpedals on device market growth prediction

Pass the blankets, baby: It's cold outside

A sickness hanging over the computer sector has infected smartphones and is set to drag the global device market into the red for 2015 – well, from a shipment perspective, anyway.

According to the mystics at Gartner, 2.395 billion computers, tabs, ultra mobiles and smartphones will be shipped into channel this year, a decline of one per cent on last year.

Previously, Gartner had expected the device arena to expand by 1.5 per cent to 2.5 billion units, but the weakness in smartphone demand in China and North America forced a re-forecast.

“Up to this point, the smartphone market was the saving grace for overall device sales in terms of continued growth,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

He said that Stateside, telcos providers had pulled subsidies for phone contracts “because they can’t afford them”, and the market in China was starting to edge toward a point of “saturation”.

Smartphone shipments are expected to grow 14 per cent this year to 1.905 billion units, but that was way down on the higher double-digit leaps in prior periods.

The PC market was already highlighted as the problem child in the device family in the previous forecast from Gartner, caused in part by currency devaluation against the dollar and demand generally falling compared to 2014, when WinXP fuelled refreshes.

The analyst reckoned 247 million computers would be sold into the channel, down from the previous projection of 250 million.

Atwal said replacement activity across all form factors had slumped, as “users are extending the lifetime of their devices”.

Ultra mobiles are now estimated to reach 44 million sales, down from the 49 million in the last prediction from Gartner. Tabs and clamshells are predicted to end 2015 with sales of 199 million units, but had been expected to achieve 214 million.

Atwal told us the appreciating dollar has disrupted the market for devices, particularly in Europe: “Prices have probably gone up by around 10 per cent, especially on the business side. The way budgets were at the start of the year, customers realised they'd have to buy fewer units.” ®

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