Gartner Cuts 2015 Device Shipment Forecast: Windows 10 Not Expected To Provide PC Market Boost

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Gartner has cut its growth forecast for worldwide device shipments for 2015, forecasting that Windows 10 will not deliver year-on-year PC sales growth this year, and stating that the only market to continue to show growth is the mobile phone market.Gartner has forecast that worldwide combined shipments of devices (PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones) will reach 2.5 billion units in 2015, a 1.5 per cent increase from 2014 and down from Gartner’s forecast of 2.8 per cent growth in the previous quarter.

According to the Gartner forecast, end-user spending on devices will total US$606 billion in 2015, showing for the first time since 2010 a 5.7 per cent decline in current US dollars.

“Our forecast for unit shipment growth for all devices in 2015 has dropped by 1.3 percentage points from last quarter’s estimate,” Ranjit Atwal, Gartner research director, commented. “This was partly due to a continued slowdown in PC purchases in Western Europe, Russia and Japan in particular, largely due to price increases resulting from local currency devaluation against the dollar.”

Gartner noted that while the end of the migration from Windows XP negatively impacted the market in the first half of the year, currency depreciation against the US dollar is wielding a greater impact.

By way of minimising pricing exposure in the channel, PC vendors are increasingly reducing their inventory levels – by at least 5 per cent until the end of 2015.

Globally, PC shipments are expected to total 300 million units in 2015, 4.5 per cent down on last year.

“We do not expect the global PC market to recover until 2016,” Atwal commented.

“The release of Windows 10 on 29th July will contribute to a slowing professional demand for mobile PCs and premium ultramobiles in 2015, as lifetimes extend by three months. However, as suppliers and buyers adjust to new prices, Windows 10 could boost replacements during 2016.”

The ultramobile segment (comprising tablets and clamshells) is also forecast to decline in 2015, with shipments forecast to total 214 million units, a decline of 5.3 per cent year-on-year, with tablets, accounting for 207 million units, declining 5.9 per cent year-on-year.

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“The tablet market is hit by fewer new buyers, extended life cycles and little innovation to encourage new purchases,” Gartner research director Roberta Cozza commented.

“At the same time, the value of a smartwatch for the average user is still not compelling enough and the impact of these wearables on tablet purchases remains negligible. The tablet has become a ‘nice to have’ device, and there is no real need for an upgrade as regularly as for the phone.”

Gartner has resultantly extended the average lifetime of the tablet to three years by 2016, with Cozza stating Gartner expects the tablet market to reach a penetration close to 50 per cent of households in mature markets by 2016.

The mobile phone market, meanwhile, is expected to see its growth rate slow to 3.3 per cent growth in 2015.

Annette Zimmermann, Gartner research director, noted that a weaker performance in China has impacted the global market.

“We have witnessed fewer and fewer first-time buyers in China, a sign that the mobile phone market in there is reaching saturation,” Zimmermann commented. “Vendors in China will have to win replacement buyers and improve the appeal of their premium offerings to attract upgrades if they want to maintain or increase their market share.

“Vendors looking to grow their performance in the global smartphone market will be challenged to quickly enhance their expansion into emerging markets outside of China, where we still witness a sizeable share of feature phones and an opportunity for double-digit smartphone growth.”

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