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Report: Global Device Market To Contract in 2015

Global device shipments will fall to 2.4 billion units in 2015, a drop of about 1 percent compared to 2014, according to a new forecast from market research firm Gartner.

The new forecast is also down from the company's prediction in the previous quarter, which saw a 1.5 percent increase over 2014 for the segment comprising PCs, tablets, phones and ultramobiles.

"Replacement activity across all types of devices has decreased," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, in a prepared statement. "Users are extending the lifetime of their devices, or deciding not to replace their devices at all."

One bright spot is mobile phones, which is the only category the company predicts will ship more units in 2015. Gartner said the devices are on pace to improve shipments by 1.4 percent over 2014's 1.879 billion units, with smartphones alone picking up by 14 percent. The company also said it expects that growth to continue through 2017, the end of the forecast period.

"By 2017, we estimate mobile phone shipments will reach the 2 billion mark, and smartphones will represent 89 percent of the market," said Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner, in a news release.

Gartner predicts PCs will fall from 314 million shipments in 2014 to 291 million this year, a decline of 7.3 percent. The forecast calls for them to stay steady at 291 million sales through 2016 before rebounding slightly to 303 million units in 2017. The lost shipments in the subcategory can be chalked up to falling sales of desktop and laptop PCs, which are forecast to fall from 277 million units sold to 247 million between 2014 and 2015. That decline will continue through 2017 when the company predicts 226 million shipments. Ultramobile PCs, on the other hand will grow from 37 million sales in 2014 to 44 million in 2015 and 78 million in 2017, if the company's predictions hold true.

"Until the end of 2015, currency devaluation and subsequent price increases will continue to restrain the replacement of ultramobiles premium and notebooks by businesses in particular," added Atwal.

Sales of other ultramoble devices, which include tablets and clamshells, won't fare as well, dropping from 226 million sales in 2014 to 199 million this year before improving to about 208 million sales in 2016 and 218 million by the end of the forecast period.

"The tablet market is coming under increasing pressure," added Zimmermann. "Users of tablets with a screen size between 7 and 8 inches are increasingly not replacing their devices."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at jbolkan@gmail.com.

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