Devices have become a central facet of our daily lives. A large number of us have more than one which we rely on. Some of us may even have more than one smartphone or even more than one laptop. The number of devices in our daily lives is slowly but surely increasing; that only means one thing, our priorities as consumers when it comes to buying these devices are changing. Gartner Inc highlights that trend in their report while predicting a 2.1% increase in worldwide device shipments for 2018.
In 2017, a total of 2.28 billion devices were shipped worldwide. This number includes desktops systems, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Gartner Inc forecasts a 2.1% increase in the number of devices shipped this year. This will bring the total devices shipped to 2.32 billion. The main contributors to this growth will be the mobile phone market and the premium ultramobile market. Of course, as the world continues to become increasingly connected, the “need” for smartphones will undoubtedly increase. This is doubly true for emerging markets.This increase will be seen both in the premium and entry levels according to another report by Gartner.
The more interesting contributor to the growth of device shipments is the ultramobile segment. This segment’s growth comes in the midst of a stagnating market for PCs; a trend which has been continuing in the past few years. Gartner Inc expects that this year will be no different. However, they expect that consumers will be looking at the ultramobile segment for devices that fit more than one use situation. Devices such as the Microsoft Surface Pro, the MacBook Air, the iPad Pro and even convertibles like the Dell XPS 13 will be go to devices as consumers become more discerning for value. It is expected that this shift in consumer behaviour will increase the competition in the segment as well. This amidst a willingness of consumers to spend more on a device which brings more value to them and fits more than one usage situation.
“Consumers have many technologies to choose from, which poses two main challenges for vendors. The first is to compete for wallet share, given how many devices consumers own. The second is to deliver value and maintain relevance — to offer the right device to the right audience… We will see more buyers focusing on value, rather than just price, and therefore considering higher-priced devices.”
– Ranjit Atwal, Research Director at Gartner
The PC market will, however, be at an overall shrinkage. Gartner attributes this to the increasing price of DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) which has doubled since 2016. The increased DRAM prices will result in a 5.4% dip in shipments with the Notebook segment showing the biggest drop of 6.8%. Again, the major contributor to this shrinkage is the increase in DRAM prices which has resulted in manufacturers having to increase the prices of their notebook line ups. This undoubtedly has resulted in consumers being more discerning in their spending and opting for devices which bring them more value such as the ultramobile devices.
The shipment of mobile phones is also predicted to increase in 2018. The 2.6% increase is largely attributed to the increase in smartphone sales which is expected to grow by 6.2% accounting for 87% of the mobile phone market. According to Gartner, manufacturers will be focusing on delivering compelling, personlised experiences when it comes to smartphones. This will be driven by the inclusion of Aritificial Intelligence (AI) based personal assistant technologies and more fluid and natural user interfaces. Also driving this personalisation is an increase in biometrics adoption and display enhancements.
That said, as telcos and communication companies begin an aggressive push into the implementation of 5G technologies, the commercial adoption will also begin in the tail end of 2018 and even more so in 2019. Gartner forecasts that 9% of devices shipped in 2019 will be 5G enabled. This will primarily be driven by developed countries such as South Korean and the United States.
Also published on Medium.