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Gartner: Device spending on the up, despite dropping PC sales

Shipments of PCs may be on the downhill slide, but overall global device spend – covering PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones – is still climbing, with Gartner predicting a 7.2% increase in 2015.

The analyst firm expects $226 billion of computing devices to ship this year.

Despite a predicted drop of 2.4% in PC sales, Gartner still expects 306 million units to ship in 2015.

Ranjit Atwal, Gartner research director, says the fall in PC purchases is primarily due to expected price increases by vendors in Europe and other regions, which is forced by local currency depreciation against the dollar.

Atwal says the currency squeeze is forcing PC vendors to increase their prices in order to remain profitable, which is suppressing purchases.

“We expect businesses will delay purchases of new PCs, and consumers will delay or ‘de-feature’ their purchases,” says Atwal.

“However, this reduction in purchasing is not a downturn, it is a reshaping of the market driven by currency.”

The mobile phone market, which Gartner says is the largest and most profitable segment of the global device market, is expected to grow 3.5% in 2015 to 1.9 billion units.

The presence of cheaper smartphones will continue to appeal to consumers, and counter the need to increase prices, Gartner says.

The analysts are predicting mobile phone pricing will remain flat or slightly down as the smartphone market reaches saturation over the next few years.

Roberta Cozza, Gartner research director, says consumers will continue to prioritise spending on phones over PCs and tablets in 2015.

Ultramobile shipments, which include tablets and clamshells, are on pace to total 237 million units globally in 2015 – a 4.3% increase over 2014.

“Following rapid growth, the current mature consumer installed base for tablets is comparable to that of notebooks,” Cozza says.

“Not only is the tablet segment nearing saturation in mature markets, but the influx of hybrids and phablets will compete directly with tablets in emerging markets.” Good news for Apple

The news is good for Apple, with Gartner predicting an increasing percentage of users of high-end Android devices will move to iOS.

“Android vendors at the high end are finding it hard to differentiate and add value beyond technology and features,” Cozza says.

“Furthermore, Apple’s brand cloud and ecosystem – alongside the new large-screen iPhone models – are strong alternatives.”

Cozza says that despite Apple’s premium price tags, the iOS base replacement cycle that started in the fourth quarter of 2014 with larger iPhones, will carry on into 2015.