Report: Global Device Shipments To Hit 2.5 Billion This Year on Strength of Mobile Phone Sales

Worldwide device sales will reach 2.5 billion units in 2015, according to Gartner, a 1.5 percent increase over 2014 totals.

That increase is not all good news for the segment, however, as it represents a 2.8 percent decrease from Gartner's forecast in the previous quarter and a 5.7 percent decrease in revenue to $606 billion, the first such decline since 2010.

"Our forecast for unit shipment growth for all devices in 2015 has dropped by 1.3 percentage points from last quarter's estimate," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, in a prepared statement. "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."

Mobile phones is the only category forecast to show significant growth, improving to 1.879 billion shipments from 1.94 in 2014 and reaching 2.062 billion units in 2017.

Shipments of premium ultramobiles are also predicted to increase, rising from 37 million shipments to 49 million in 2015 and estimated to climb to 89 million by 2017.

Sales of other ultramobiles will decline from 226 million units to 214, according to the forecast, but will rebound to 244 million sales in 2017. Tablets are predicted to account for 207 million sales in 2015, a 5.9 percent decline compared to the previous year.

"The tablet market is hit by fewer new buyers, extended life cycles and little innovation to encourage new purchases," said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, in a prepared statement. "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."

"Gartner analysts also witness users relying more on their smartphones as functionality increases and screen size standardizes at 5 inches," according to a news release.

The company predicts that traditional PCs, including both desktops and notebooks, will take the biggest hit in units shipped, dropping from 277 million devices sold in 2014 to 251 million this year and 233 million in 2017.

Taken together, the PC market is forecast to drop from 314 million shipments to 300 million, a year-on-year decline of 4.5 percent, though it will recover relatively over the next two years, according to Gartner, hitting 311 million units in 2016 and 322 million in 2017.

"We do not expect the global PC market to recover until 2016," added Atwal. "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."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].