Tech Trends

Report: Device Shipments to Remain Mostly Static in 2017, Despite Lagging PC Sales


Global device shipments will decline 0.3 percent in 2017 as compared to the previous year, before rebounding with a 1.8 percent increase in 2018, according to a new forecast from Gartner. That decline represents a drop from 2.332 billion devices shipped last year to a projected 2.326 billion sales this year.

"Overall, the shipment growth of the device market is steady for the first time in many years," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, in a prepared statement. "PC shipments are slightly lower while phone shipments are slightly higher — leading to a slight downward revision in shipments from the previous forecast."

Traditional PC shipments (desktops and notebooks) will drop from 220 million last year to 203 million this year, according to the forecast, and will continue to fall to 191 million shipments in 2019, the end of the forecast period.

Premium ultramobile PC shipments are projected to increase this year to 59 million, up from 50 million in 2016, and to continue growing to 82 million in 2019. Basic and utility ultramobiles, however, will see sales fall from 169 million units last year to 160 million in 2017, then more or less flattening to 158 million units in 2019.

"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," according to a news release. "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. The impact of component pricing on PCs is being reduced for buyers as producers absorb some of the cost into their margins — fearing the alternative of a reduction of their share of a competitive market."

"PC buyers continue to put quality and functionality ahead of price," said Atwal in a prepared statement. "Many organizations are coming to the end of their evaluation periods for Windows 10, and are now increasing the speed at which they adopt new PCs as they see the clear benefits of better security and newer hardware."

Mobile phone shipments, meanwhile, will improve from 1.893 billion in 2016 to 1.904 billion this year, according to the organization, and will see similar growth next year, rising to 1.936 billion shipments before levelling off and moving a projected 1.934 billion units in 2019.

"Overall smartphone shipments will grow 5 percent in 2017, reaching nearly 1.6 billion units," according to Gartner. "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."

About the Author

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