As ​PC shipments “bottom out”, 2017 provides grounds for market growth

“The biggest challenge, and potential benefit for the PC market, is the integration of Windows 10 with Intel's Skylake architecture."

The global PC shipment market is expected to total 284 million units in 2016, a decline of 1.5 percent year on year with traditional PCs on pace to decline 6.7 percent in 2016.

But in offering market hope for the future, research analyst Gartner claims that 2016 represents the last year of decline for the struggling market, before returning to growth in 2017.

“The biggest challenge, and potential benefit for the PC market, is the integration of Windows 10 with Intel's Skylake architecture,” says Ranjit Atwal, Research Analyst, Gartner.

“It has the potential for new form factors with more attractive features.”

In addition, Atwal believes the frustration with the capabilities in tablets will drive some consumers and businesses to review new form factors.

“However, to draw their interest the PC manufacturers need to ensure that they meet demand with the right products at the right price,” Atwal adds.

Atwal says demand for ultramobiles (basic and utility tablets) will continue to weaken, with a decline of 3.4 percent in 2016.

“Users are not only extending lifetimes, but also some will fail to replace these devices at all through 2016,” he adds.

Smartphones

Delving deeper into the future of the devices market, Gartner believes global smartphone sales will for the first time exhibit single-digit growth in 2016.

Global smartphone sales are estimated to reach 1.5 billion units in 2016, a seven per cent growth from 2015 while the total mobile phone market is forecast to reach 1.9 billion units in 2016.

Atwal reports that worldwide combined shipments for devices (PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones) will reach 2.4 billion units in 2016, a 0.6 percent increase from 2015.

“The double-digit growth era for the global smartphone market has come to an end,” Atwal adds.

“Historically, worsening economic conditions had negligible impact on smartphone sales and spend, but this is no longer the case. China and North America smartphone sales are on pace to be flat in 2016, exhibiting a 0.7 percent and 0.4 percent growth respectively.”

Emerging markets

While smartphone sales will continue to grow in emerging markets, the growth will slow down.

Gartner predicts that, through 2019, 150 million users will delay upgrades to smartphones in emerging Asia/Pacific, until the functionality and price combination of a low-cost smartphone becomes more desirable.

“Prices did not decline enough to drive upgrades from low-end feature phones to low-end smartphones,” adds Annette Zimmermann, Research Director, Gartner.

“Vendors were not able to reduce the price of a 'good enough to use' smartphone lower than $50.”

In the mature markets of North America, Western Europe, Japan and mature Asia/Pacific, Gartner analysts expect to see an extension of phone lifetimes among users.

“As carriers' deals become more complex, users are likely to hold onto phones, especially as the technology updates become incremental rather than exponential,” Zimmermann adds.

“In addition, the volumes of users upgrading from basic phones to premium phones will slow, with more basic phones being replaced with the same type of phone.”

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