Worldwide device shipments to remain flat in 2017

Worldwide shipments of PCs, tablets and smartphones are expected to exceed 2.3 billion units in 2017 showing a flat growth according to Gartner.

“Overall, the shipment growth of the device market is steady for the first time in many years,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director, Gartner.

“PC shipments are slightly lower while phone shipments are slightly higher — leading to a slight downward revision in shipments from the previous forecast,” added Atwal.

PC shipments are on pace to drop 3 percent in 2017, but the rate of decline is slower than in recent years, alleviated by Windows 10 replacement purchasing. Prices for components such as DRAM memory and SSD hard drives continue to rise, creating headwinds for the global PC market and — to a lesser extent — the smartphone market.

Smartphone shipments will grow 5 percent in 2017, reaching nearly 1.6 billion units. End-user spending continues to shift from low-cost “utility” phones toward higher priced “basic” and “premium” smartphones. The smartphone market is now more dependent on new devices that offer something different, as users are extending their purchasing cycles and need to be enticed to make a replacement.

“The Samsung S8 and S8 Plus have had a strong impact so far in 2017, with users undeterred by battery issues that affected the Note 7 at the end of 2016. This good start points to a rebound for Samsung,” said Roberta Cozza, research director, Gartner.

“Continued premium smartphone growth in 2017 will also be highly dependent on the forthcoming anniversary edition of Apple’s iPhone, which should bring more-drastic feature and design upgrades than the last few iterations,” added Cozza.

The “basic” smartphone market is expected to record 686 million shipments in 2017, up 6.8 percent from 2016.

The total installed base for these devices is currently around 7 billion units, so vendors are constantly looking at ways to add new capabilities that can give their products an edge in the market. Many new technologies — such as artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual personal assistants (VPAs) — will grow in adoption throughout the forecast period, yet it is difficult to see any revolutionary impact in early iterations.

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