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Worldwide device market to lose value, despite slight growth in size

Gartner projects a 2.8% increase in device shipments for 2015, but warns of a 3.1% decline in spending

Worldwide device market to lose value, despite slight growth in size
Gartner predicted a 2.4% decrease in PC shipments during 2015.

The global market for devices will grow by 2.8% in 2015, reaching around 2.5bn units by the end of the year, according to the latest projections from Gartner.

However, the value of the devices market will actually see a decline in total value, Gartner said. The market, including PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones, totalled around 2.4bn units in 2014, reaching a total value of $244bn. The research house predicted that, in 2015, total spend will reach $226bn, a 7.2% decline in current US dollars.

Even without the impact of the rising US dollar, global computing device spending will decrease by 3.1%, Gartner said. As usual, the PC market will be one of the hardest hit, with an estimated 306m units to be sold in 2015 - a 2.4% decrease over 2014.

"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," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

"The currency squeeze is forcing PC vendors to increase their prices in order to remain profitable and, as result, it is suppressing purchases. We expect businesses will delay purchases of new PCs, and consumers will delay or 'de-feature' their purchases. However, this reduction in purchasing is not a downturn, it is a reshaping of the market driven by currency." 

The mobile phone market, the largest and most profitable segment of the global device market, is expected to total 1.9bn units and grow 3.5% in 2015, Gartner said. The research house explained that the presence of cheaper smartphones will continue to appeal to consumers, and counter the need to increase prices.

Gartner also noted that mobile phone pricing has been increasing over the last few years driven by a rising premium-phone average selling price, but now will remain flat or slightly down as the smartphone market reaches saturation over the next few years. 

"Consumers will continue to prioritise spending on phones over PCs and tablets in 2015," said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner. 

Meanwhile, worldwide ultramobile shipments, which include tablets and clamshells, are on pace to total 237m units in 2015, a 4.3% increase over 2014, Gartner said.

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

"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."

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