After suffering a decline of three per cent in 2017, global shipments of devices including PCs, tablets and mobile phones are forecast to record a mere 0.9 per cent growth to reach 2.28 billion units in 2018, market research firm Gartner said on Tuesday. Refining its earlier April forecast of growth for worldwide shipments of devices at over 1.3 per cent in 2018, Gartner predicted that the PC and tablet market is estimated to decline 1.2 per cent in 2018 while the mobile phone market is on pace to record an increase of 1.4 per cent. In April, Gartner said the traditional PC market will decline 3.9 per cent in units in 2018 and is expected to decline a further 3.6 per cent during 2019.
“The PC market is still hindered by the undersupply of the DRAM market due to the lack of new wafer capacity coming online. As a result, PC vendors will continue to increase their prices throughout 2018,” said Ranjit Atwal, Research Director at Gartner. “It is becoming paramount for businesses to migrate to Windows 10 as soon as possible, and certainly by the end of 2019,” Atwal added.
The next major shift in the PC market will be marked by the end of support for Windows 7 in January 2020. North America kicked off the first Windows 10 migration phase in 2015 and will complete around 2019. Western Europe is increasing its adoption in 2018. However, in China, Japan and other emerging regions, migration plans are shifting from 2018 to 2019 as they continue to prepare for inherent complications in changing process and procedures for Windows as a service, Gartner noted.
With nearly 1.9 billion units to be shipped in 2018, mobile phones are the main influencer of the global device market growth. In China, mobile phone sales declined 8.7 per cent in 2017 to 428 million units, but are estimated to grow 3.3 per cent in 2018, representing 23 per cent of total mobile phone sales this year. The traditional PC market in China is on pace to decline 1.7 per cent to 38.5 million shipments in 2018.
“The downward trend that China is experiencing is undoubtedly affecting the worldwide device market,” said Atwal. “The continued roll-out of a Chinese version of Windows 10 in the second half of 2018 as well as Apple iPhone’s replacement cycle expected through 2019 will generate demand,” he added.