Gartner predicted that worldwide spending on devices including PCs, 'ultra mobiles', tablets and mobile phones will decline for the first time in 2016, although overall shipments are expected to increase slightly by 1.9 per cent to reach 2.4 billion units.
The research company said spending in constant U.S. dollars is expected to drop by 0.5 per cent as the device market continues to be impacted by economic divisions within different countries.
Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, noted that vendors could no longer only target the mature and emerging markets.
"Driven by economic variations the market is splitting into four categories: economically challenged mature markets, economically stable mature markets and the same for emerging markets," Atwal said.
The picture is slightly brighter in the mobile device segment alone: shipments of mobile devices are expected to increase by 2.6 per cent this year, with constant end-user spending set to increase by 1.2 per cent. Smartphone shipments continue to drive growth in this market. Gartner estimates 82 per cent of mobile phones will be smartphones by the end of 2016, up 12 per cent from 2015.
Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, noted that there is evidence of a shift to basic phones in the smartphone market.
"Users are also opting to replace within the basic smartphone category without necessarily moving to high-end smartphones, especially in China and some other emerging markets," she said.
Meanwhile, ultra mobile devices -- described as a cross between a PC and a tablet -- are expected to drive the PC market in future. The global PC shipment market is expected to total 287 million units in 2016, a decline of 1 per cent year on year, but on pace to increase 4 per cent in 2017.
Atwal said businesses are expected to deploy Windows 10 faster than with previous Windows upgrades.
"By the end of 2017, many businesses are looking to move as much as 40 percent of their installed base onto new Windows 10 devices, mainly driven by the appeal of hybrid touch-screen 2-1. This will be the catalyst for growth in the PC market in 2017," he noted.
- see this Gartner release
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