Gartner forecasts 1% decline in mobile device shipments in 2015

Gartner issued a somewhat gloomier forecast for the mobile devices market in 2015, revising downwards its previous prediction of 1.5 per cent growth this year to a 1 per cent decline from 2014 to 2.4 billion units.

The company blamed the revised forecast for total shipments of mobile phones, ultra mobiles (tablets and clamshells), PCs and tablets on a decrease in replacement activity for all types of devices.

Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, said users are extending the lifetime of their devices, or deciding not to replace their devices at all.

However, the situation is less bleak for mobile phone shipments, which Gartner said are on pace to increase 1.4 per cent in 2015. Indeed, smartphone shipments are estimated to increase 14 per cent in 2015. Emerging markets in Asia-Pacific, including India and Indonesia, are on pace to show the strongest growth (43 per cent) in 2015, while Greater China will grow 3 per cent. 

Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner, said the company estimates that mobile phone shipments will reach the 2 billion mark by 2017. "Smartphones will represent 89 per cent of the market," she added.

The ultra mobile segment is nonetheless on pace to contract in 2015. Ultra mobile shipments are estimated to total 199 million units in 2015, a decline of 12 per cent year over year. Tablet shipments are on track to reach 192 million units in 2015, down 13 per cent from 2014. 

"The tablet market is coming under increasing pressure," said Zimmermann. "Users of tablets with a screen size between seven and eight inches are increasingly not replacing their devices."

In addition, Gartner's new user survey conducted in June 2015 across six countries found that 44 per cent of current tablet users are planning to substitute their tablets with a different device. It is potentially even higher for laptop users, as 54 per cent of them are intending to opt for an alternative device, including the highest percentage of undecided consumers.

The survey was conducted online in May and June 2015. A total of 19,000 consumers were asked about their technology usage and attitudes from the U.S., UK, France, China, Brazil, and India.

In a separate report, ABI Research said the installed base of tablets will decrease for the first time in 2016 as growth from first-time buyers shifts to replacement purchases. The research company said the global installed base of branded tablets will peak around 373 million units at the close of 2015

For more:
- see this Gartner release
- see this ABI Research release

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