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Gartner: 2% Growth for 2018 Device Shipments

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Global PC, tablet and smartphone shipments are to reach 2.35 billion units in 2018, Gartner reports-- a 2% increase over 2017, the highest growth rate since 2015.

The analyst also has the results of an online survey of users in the US, UK, Germany, China and India. It shows users still do a lot tasks on PCs, with 40% of respondents using PCs or tablets for certain daily tasks (such as reading or writing detailed emails, or watching video), while 34% use a smartphone for the convenience while on the move.

Gartner device market q3 2017

However users continue holding on to PCs for longer, even as they replace smartphones on a more frequent basis. As a result, traditional PC shipments are forecast to decline by -4.4% in 2018, while mobile phones will grow by 2.4%. The PC market does have a bright spot in PC business shipments returning to growth by end 2017, thanks to faster Windows 10 replacements in regions such as W. Europe.

The trend in business PC growth should persist into 2018 (in part due to economic upturn in Russia), with spending primarily focused on desktop PCs with more aggressive pricing than mobile or hybrid options. China should also boost the global PC market once Microsoft releases a Chinese government-approved version of Windows 10.

In the meantime 2018 should see a return to growth on mobile phone shipments reaching 1.9bn. Smartphones make 86% of the total, a 6% increase from 2017, with the iPhone X as main driver in W. Europe, N. America and China despite a high price. However the fanciest Apple smartphone is hit by component shortages in Q4 2017, favouring unit sales moving to 2018.

"Decrease in total mobile phone demand in 2017 is also expected to come from a weaker lower end of the smartphone market," Gartner adds. "For this segment, local vendors continue to struggle against the shift toward top brands, while component price increases affect the ability of some Android vendors to compete more aggressively on price."

Go Gartner Forecast: PCs, Ultramobiles and Mobile Phones Q3 2017 Update